Cynthia Layne - Beautiful Soul (2007)

Cynthia Layne
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This release has been on the scene since last year, slowly gaining support from those who respect good music. In this her second album, Midwesterner Ms Layne refuses to be stereotyped, and the resultant mix of styles from neo soul through jazz to slow funk and even house is a superb example of an artist who has learned her craft and is happy to easily move between these different styles. In doing so the vocal styling is one that highlights her dexterity, and that is nowhere better identified than on "Kings and Queens," where her phraseology moves from rapid fire lyrics through to full blooded soul!   

Co-produced by saxophonist Rob Dixon, the album in the main is one where one feels the power of real instruments played by experienced musicians. The smooth soul of the catchy "Pimp Talk" gives way to the reflective poignancy of "I Can't Change You," and this in turn makes way for the funky soulful house of "Will U Be There."  Miss Layne is definitely one for mixing styles! 

This is in fact her second album and three tracks from the jazzier Reality survive from that set to be aired again simply because of their popularity with fans. The beautifully crafted and very soulful "We" which begins with old skool scratches and has a Minnie Ripertonish feel to it as it builds to a jazzier ending is probably the best track on the album. While "Letting you go" is a two stepper par excellence! All in all this album is a fine example of musicians that take pride in their music and ensure that the groove lives through it all.   

A JL REVIEW               


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