First, Robin McKelle & The Flytones Soul Flower is not neo-soul. Neo-soul is what Amy Winehouse was and Cee Lo Green is (at least on his "Forget You"). Neo-soul is a cheeky attempt to cash in on a classic style while, at the same time, not taking it seriously. Second, Soul Flower might be better termed retro-soul, except that McKelle avoids the pitfall of clinging too tightly to the old style that has plagued other artists trying to put a new spin on the soul canon. A mixture of originals with some clever covers make up Soul Flower. McKelle is a more than capable composera roll she shares with Sam Barsh (bassist Avishai Cohen's former pianist).
For any Baby Boomer, Soul Flower can be eaten with a spoon. It is more Motown than Memphis by way of Muscle Shoals, and smacks of Bobbie Gentry having a pool party with Gladys Knight and the Pointer Sisters. McKelle possesses a contemporary authenticity that manifests in her assimilation of multiple older styles presented with a freshness that has the fragrance of experience re-imagined. Pianist Beat Kaestli Ben Stivers ' use of the electric piano lends this collection of a dozen songs that sound, which is at once retro and chic. This, coupled with McKelle's honesty, makes this a recording that should encourage a reappraisal of period soul and that being made today. And isn't that what all art is supposed to do?
Track Listing: So It Goes; Tell You One Thing; Nothing's Really Changed; Fairytale
Ending; Miss You Madly; Don't Give Up; Walk on By; To Love Somebody;
Change; I'm Ready; Love's Work; I'm a Fool to Want You.
Personnel: Robin McKelle: vocals; Derek Nievergelt: bass; Adrian Harpham: drums;
Ben Stivers: keyboards; Al Street: guitar, Scott Aruda: trumpet; Mike
I love jazz because next to my kids, it's the love of my life.
I was first exposed to jazz by Joe Rico from a tiny station in Niagara Falls in 1954 when I was 13.
The best show I ever attended was Maynard Ferguson who blew the roof off Massey Hall in the late 50s.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to everything you can and then listen again.