Alicia Keys' debut album, Songs in A Minor, made a significant impact upon its release in the summer of 2001, catapulting the young singer/songwriter to the front of the neo-soul pack. Critics and audiences were captivated by a 19-year-old singer whose taste and influences ran back further than her years, encompassing everything from Prince to smooth '70s soul, even a little Billie Holiday. In retrospect, it was the idea of Alicia Keys that was as attractive as the record, since soul fans were hungering for a singer/songwriter who seemed part of the tradition without being as spacy as Macy Gray or as hippie mystic as Erykah Badu while being more reliable than Lauryn Hill. Keys was all that, and she had style to spare – elegant, sexy style accentuated by how she never oversang, giving the music a richer feel. It was rich enough to compensate for some thinness in the writing – though it was a big hit, "Fallin'" doesn't have much body to it – which is a testament to Keys' skills as a musician.
Reissue with the latest remastering and the original cover artwork. Comes with a description written in Japanese. Trumpeter Steve Gut's on the frontline here alongside the legendary Clark Terry and the great Dusko Goykovich – and the younger musician really manages to hold his own, and work well with the two master trumpeters! The setting is a larger group – the RTB Big Band – and all three players get a chance to solo – and the mighty Alvin Queen is in the group on drums, providing a soulful kick that maybe makes the album sparkle a bit more than usual for the RTB – although they've always had a great legacy of work with bigger name players, especially American ones. Titles include "Mr CT", "Black Triangle", "Stemi", "Summer Afternoon", "On The Road", "Some Memories", and "Blues To Clark".
Opening with the Head Hunters version of "Watermelon Man" and closing with the electro-embracing crossover hit, "Rockit," Mr. Funk is a semi-random skip across Hancock's Columbia recordings, and it technically spans 1973-1983 (at least going by release dates), rather than the 1972-1988 range printed on its cover.
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The Complete Motown Singles has been a dream project of Motown and soul fanatics for many years, ever since the first decade of Stax/Volt singles was compiled in an impressive nine-disc box set in 1991. The Complete Motown Singles might have seemed like a logical move to soul collectors and fanatics, but it remained in the realm of fantasy for many years because, as enticing as that set was, it was difficult to create.