When Nick Colionne’s splendid new CD ‘Influences’ was previewed by the radio single ‘Got To Keep Moving’ it was clear from the get-go that he was on to another winner. It’s a number that has all the vitality that one has come to expect from this superstar of the genre but more than that is totally in keeping with the mood of the entire album which Nick uses to take musical stock of the people and things that have helped drive his career. Indeed, with six tracks written and produced by Pieces Of A Dream stalwart James Lloyd, ‘Influences’ is as tight a collection as you will hear anywhere this year.
Cases in point is the hypnotic quality of the easy grooving yet rhythmic ‘Nico’s Ride’, the smoky ‘When You Love Somebody’ that is right up there with the very best that ‘Influences’ has to offer and ‘Here’s To You’ which envelopes the listener in the musical equivalent of a warm, comfortable blanket.
Of course everyone who has luxuriated in Colionne’s breathtaking rendition of the classic ‘Rainy Night In Georgia’ (which can be found on his 2006 release ‘Keeping It Cool’) must have pondered why his singing voice has remained so underused. Here he poses a similar question, as with a sultry vocal duet with the always-excellent Maysa he lights up the timeless Shire & Connor composition ‘Born Again’ like never before.
Of late, with the sad loss of his long-term manager and friend Carol Ray, Nick has been through an emotionally tough time. He pays his respects to her with his own composition ‘C-Ray’ while another Colionne original comes in the form of ‘Sting Like A King B’ where both the title and the groove reveal Colionne’s admiration for the great BB King.
Elsewhere the mid tempo sophistication of ‘Whatcha Gonna Do’ is right on the money and when he ratchets up the tempo for the brass infused ‘Whatta Bout You’ the result is just as good. This, in part, is due to an off the chain keyboard solo from Lloyd yet in terms of personal favorites, the appropriately titled ‘Slammin’ is certainly hard to beat. With a flavor of the Luther Vandross hit ‘Never Too Much’ this one is tailor made for the sort of high-octane live performances for which Colionne is famous.
Look out for him on tour this year but, most importantly, look out for the sensational ‘Influences’.