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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Narada Michael Walden

Evolution

Review by Gary Hill

I love the blend of jazz, soul that we get here. This is a classy set with a lot of great songs. It never feels tired or redundant. It also never fails to entertain. It is a great disc from the start to the finish.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Evolution

This starts with someone teaching a little kid to say “evolution.” They work out from there into a cool soulful jazz meets pop music vibe. It’s like one part Herbie Hancock and one part Stevie Wonder. It’s a great groove. I really love the jam later in the track. It includes some great piano soloing followed by an exceptional melodic guitar solo.

Billionaire on Soul Street
There is a lot of energy here. It has a bit of funk, too. It’s another soulful jam that’s very cool and tasty.
Baby’s Got It Going On
A high energy soulful cut, this reminds me a lot of Prince – particularly in the New Power Generation period. It’s fun stuff for sure. There is some funk and a lot of class on display here.
Freedom
This version of the Richie Havens classic has a lot of magic built into it. It captures the spirit of the original while still bringing something new to the table. The scorching hot jam later really elevates this into the stratosphere.
Song for You
I dig the mellow groove on this piece. It’s a cool cut. It isn’t as high energy as some of the rest, but it has a lot of character and style.
It's the Sixties
This song is all about trying to revive the spirit of the 60s of revolution for justice. It has a bit of a reggae vibe, blended with some psychedelia and the soul of the rest of the set. It’s a mellower, but very effective cut. It has a rap in the midst of it, too.
Tear the House Down
Electronic dance music merges with funk, soul and more on this killer tune. It’s like James Brown meets house music. It’s energetic, fun and a good bit of variety.
Me and My Girl
This tasty song has a real classic R&B and soul vibe to it.
Heavens in My Heart

With a bit of a modern edge, this is set in a great jazz turned soulful vibe. It’s a strong cut. Then again, everything here is.

Standing Tall
With a positive message, this has a lot of jazz, rock and soul in the mix. It does stand tall, even amongst the competition here.
Long and Winding Road
A cover of the Beatles classic, this works really well. It’s set in sort of a jazz ballad style. The whole piece is quite effective, but I particularly like the guitar solo.
Show Me How to Love Again (Booda Remix)
Electronic music blends with classy soulful sounds here. There is a bit of a spacey edge to this piece.
Billionaire on Soul Street (Booda Remix)

This electronic take on the opening cut works reasonably well. I definitely prefer the original version, though.

 
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