African American, Arranger, Chris Rob, Composer, Jesse Fischer, Lakecia Benjamin, Saxophone, Shelton Gardner, Solomon Dorsey, The Hotspot Horns
Lakecia Benjamin -][- RETOX –Mp3– [Motéma Music, 2012 | Review] –
Upon receiving the debut album “RETOX” by the gifted, intriguing, talented and emerging young voice on alto and soprano saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin I was temporarily perplex by her creative yet abstract blend of shapes, tones and flavors not realizing the true depth, quality and tangible sounds this record encompasses.
After a couple of days I decided to revisit “RETOX.” With my second listen, somewhere around the third song I was drawn deeper into the talented Lakecia Benjamin’s affluent, lyrical and composed approach to her attractive arrangements and vigilant song structure on Motéma Music. Lakecia’s voice spawns with impelling force not only as a player, her compositions are fueled with excitement and boldly expressed by her self-assurance artistically.
With eleven songs and ten originals on tab like a skilled surgeon the inventive Lakecia extracts the elements of funk, jazz and soulful grooves excel on the opening piece “SOULSQUAD.” This intense gem features the polished and syncopated brass sounds of The Hotspot Horns. As the music continues, Lakecia stays on point without deviating from her mission to define her stimulating voice with a variety of songs including “Keep on Talkin’” harmonically embraces the unadulterated melodies of Sly Stone washed in the ambiance of neo-soul featuring the talented duo Tracy Nicole and Amp Fiddler on vocals.
Initially, Lakecia started out playing Latin music, and then she moved onto jazz and later clothed herself with R&B. While nurturing her multifaceted voice through the vessel of experimentation she eventually decided to do what she envisioned herself to be in the first place a musician without being pigeonholed by any particular genre.
At a glance, Lakecia’s vision derives from her humble beginnings of being exposed to a comprehensive and diverse canvas of music played around her house as a youngster. She describes passionately the importance of including her influences in this project by doing so she created a fresh, potent and provocative sound called “inter-generational.” With this insight, it captures the essence of her musical personality expressed throughout “RETOX.”
Any aspiring artist worth their weight in gold has at some point heard of or is influenced by the infectious soul and funk sounds of alto sax giant Maceo Parker. Benjamin’s powerfully anointed, soulful and expressive playing on this momentous tribute to Parker is fittingly titled “Maceo.”
Throughout the project, “RETOX” is layered with cocktail of jazz textures, funk and neo-soul inspired vocals like “Share My Life” is accented by the lovely Jacoria Marzette on lead vocals along with rapper Whosane colorizes this poetically vibrant gem mirrors rapper Common [rapper/actor] lyrically. “My Love” follows with pulse of blues in body on this slow jam vibrates with ambient soul stirring and heartfelt emotion delivered by Krystle Warren’s smokey yet seductive vocal style reminiscent of vocal duo Floetry.
For those who may doubt, Lakecia’s music could never be accused of being understated, boring or simply unmoving. Her unyielding sound is hot yet her brisk tone personalizes the temperature of the horn as it penetrates with expressive colors to create a heartwarming atmosphere for music lovers to envelop.
The next piece, “Human Being” summarizes the ensembles remarkable interplay as they purposefully shift gears with energetic and ingenuous aptitude showcases her strength, flexibility and knack for raising the bar as a horn player. The versatile Mavis Swan Poole is featured on lead vocals, she begins and ends the song with a sprinkling of Badu which flows effortlessly.
“Jump and Shout” collates seamlessly with a bulging uptempo and cohesive beats mirror the voicings of old school sounds of Sly Stone meets James Brown fused as one collectively is undoubtedly another delectable tune unleashed in this collection by Benjamin features Chinah Blac on voice. The eccentric yet soulful “Smile” bounces with a colorful bliss features vocal stylist Maya Azucena.
Lakecia and the crew cranks up the heat with another Maceo Parker inspired tune called “Get Down,” this gem features the blazing “Hotspot Horns” along with the funky backbeats serve is an uplifting and danceable groove. Benjamin struts her astute voice to the invigorating melodies of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t Worry ‘Bout A Thing.” By the way, this tune is the only non-original song on the recording.
With two jams remaining, Lakecia turns down the volume just a bit on the eclectic “Dreams” which features the voicings of Melanie Charles. The capricious swag of “Slow Juice” closes the set with a lightly flavored dose of phat drums-beats, and lots of synth layered with complex ambient grooves.
In a nutshell, I’m pleased to have met and return to indulge in this impressive music palette by the gifted and exceptionally talented saxophonist, composer and arranger. Although it’s mostly a commercial effort, Lakecia Benjamin’s musical attitude is fearless, amazing and admirable … she has seriously brought the juice with lots of punch to her intoxicating debut “RETOX.” If your taste for jazz consists of energetic and spicy funk, soul, intelligent arrangements and neo-soul inspired vocals with pop tendencies woven in then I’m quite sure “RETOX” will definitely satisfy your thirst for quality music.
Recommend by Rob Young | Urban Flux Media | Review
Meet The Band:
Lakecia Benjamin – alto and soprano saxophones, all arrangements
Solomon Dorsey – bass
Jesse Fischer – keys, organ
Chris Rob – key bass, keys, organ on tracks 2, 4, and 7
Shelton Gardner – guitar
Louis Cato – guitar on tracks 2, 4 and 7
Brandee Younger – harp on track 4
The Hotspot Horns (Jonathan Powell) trumpet and flugelhorn
Mark Williams – trombone on tracks 2, 7
Nick Roseboro – trumpet on tracks 1, 3, 6, 8 and 10
Andre Murchison – trombone on track 3
Tracy Nicole and Amp Fiddler – vocals on track 2
Jacoria Marzette and Whosane – vocal and rap track 4
Krystle Warren – vocal track 5
Mavis Swan Poole – vocal track 6
Chinah Blac – vocal track 7
Maya Azucena – vocal track 8
Melanie Charles – vocal track 11
2) KEEP TALKIN’
4) SHARE MY LIFE
5) MY LOVE
6) HUMAN BEING
7) JUMP AND SHOUT
9) GET DOWN
10) DON’T WORRY ‘BOUT A THING
12) SLOW JUICE
Produced by Lakecia Benjamin and Ben “Daddy” Kane
Visit, and learn more about this exciting new voice in music at www.lakeciabenjamin.com
Original Release Date: June 12, 2012
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