Kia Bennett - Duet of Daffodils (2012)
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Every once in a while, there is a vocalist whose soothing and down-to-earth style can speak powerful messages. One might describe Kia Bennett as a musical masseuse with her uncanny ability to spread her calming vision of love and spirituality. Since graduating from Howard University, she joined the community of mid-Atlantic regional underground urban talents – from Kindred the Family Soul to Raheem DeVaughn. Though Bennett is not exactly a household name, she has carved an impressive performance resume. The singer/songwriter is currently part of the latest incarnation of RAMP, whose one and only recording in 1977, Come into Knowledge, was produced and written by 60’s and 70’s jazz/funk icon Roy Ayers. In 2011, Bennett also participated in a yet unreleased documentary of Ayers’ influential work with additional commentary by the likes of The Roots and Common. Besides her association with Roy Ayers and background work with D’Angelo, Bennett’s exquisite voice has been tapped by fellow mid-Atlantic artists and several internationally based producers. Those collaborations dating back to 2006 comprise her digital-only EP, Duet of Daffodils.
Lyrics depicting love in various degrees are draped with Bennett’s calming presence and a pleasant mix of beats and backdrops. Naturally, most of Duet of Daffodils six tracks focus on the mellow side. “Falling” drips of soft percussive funk, intense guitar fills and unusually stacked high harmonies, courtesy of the U.K. production team, Twin Cities. Bennett and Tamar Wellons’ production of their composition, “Love You,” caresses the senses with an acoustic guitar-driven samba about practicing one’s faith. The demo that opened the door for Bennett into the RAMP family, “So Natural,” captures the full essence of Ayers’ classy balladry, thanks to Bennett’s dreamy soulful lines and U.K. producer/musician Soulpersona’s crisp orchestrations. From the 2-disc compilation, D.C. Soul ‘In The Cut’, a collective featuring Bennett, Wellons, DeVaughn and others stamp their neo-soul impression of encouragement towards the victims of Hurricane Katrina on “Share a Moment of Love”: “It’s up to us to make sure we don’t fall behind/ Give up, reach out, hold on tight/ Remember love and give a moment to someone.” “Dreams,” the only upbeat piece on Duet of Daffodils, basks in Caribbean broken beats from Dominican born/U.S.-based Ezel Secreto and jazz flavored choruses and adlibs.
After experiencing Bennett’s very fulfilling collaborations on Duet of Daffodils, I hope it will be only a short period of time before she decides to express her vocal beauty for her first full-length solo showcase.
Vocals: 4.0 stars
Music: 3.5 stars
Lyrics: 3.5 stars
Production: 3.5 stars
SoulTracks Call: Highly Recommended
By Peggy Oliver