As a successful supporting musician, Darryl Anders had plenty of experience pumping out classic soul and funk with influential musicians. Anders' time with Narada Michael Walden, Booker T. Jones (Booker T & The M.G.'s), Zigaboo Modeliste (The Meters) and Tower of Power was well invested and fueled his personal mission to present organic, passionate soul music into the millennium with a slight twist. Anders, along with talent from the San Francisco Bay area, has released the Agape Soul Limited Edition EP, which sets the stage for a future full length release. In the course of four tracks, Agape Soul cleverly blends the golden days of soul with pinches of contemporary jazz, gospel and pop. Despite some jazzy overtones, Agape Soul is not meant to be mistaken for a ‘smooth jazz' concoction, and the raw vocal performances and live instrumentation should hopefully dissuade this notion.
Agape Soul boosts a tight rhythm section (Lynette Williams, Aaron Green and Anders), colorful sax playing from Vince Lars and a terrific vocal cast. Those who enjoy the soul jazz stylists from the seventies and eighties such as Phyllis Hyman and Randy Crawford will appreciate "Don't Say You Love Me" from guest vocalist Zoe Ellis. Her rich alto definitely resembles urban gospel's Helen Baylor. Besides handling the bass guitar and songwriting duties, Anders showcases his own vocal skills. His baritone lends a tender touch to the ballad, "Time Cannot Erase." Indra Jones conveys an understated soulfulness on the mid tempo, bass popping grooved "Tell Me Where It Hurts" and the gospel-infected "Voice of Reason." Overall, Agape Soul provides a refreshing perspective at soul's golden days, and it will be interesting to hear what Anders has in store for the hopefully near future.
Vocals: 3.5 stars
Lyrics: 3.0 stars
Music: 4.0 stars
Production: 3.5 stars
SoulTracks Call: Highly Recommended
By Peggy Oliver