D Angelo - Black MessiahRCA
The authenticity of D' Angelo's music has remained relevant despite a new release in fourteen years. So when word begins to leak about "Black Messiah" is preparing to drop months ahead of schedule, people are going to take notice. In an era where electronica is the rule and live instrumentation is the exception, "Black Messiah" and it's low-fi analog production has provided a much needed injection of raw hot buttered soul. Indeed this is the kind of soul food that lingers in your body like your Grandma's sweet potato pie. There's plenty of evidence with prime cuts like the psychedelic soulful grooves of "1000 Deaths". "Sugah Daddy", and "Betray My Heart" are both mid-tempo funky numbers with tight grooves sprinkled with some playful piano. Each track is treated to some trumpet phrasing courtesy of Roy Hargrove. "Another Life" closes out the disc in fine fashion. A tasty piano riff augmented by D'Angelo's emotive vocals and funky Wah Wah rhythms. Once again D'Angelo displays a flair for clever arrangements and tasty melodies carried out by a strong musical cast. Whether or not this will be considered a classic will be determined over time but there is no doubt that is one of the early favorites for album of the year.
Reg Dancy, 03/15