Tortured Soul - Hot For Your Love Tonight (2015)

Tortured Soul
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Those who know the history of the three man funk/disco band known as Tortured Soul will break into song and dance upon hearing Hot For Your Love Tonight, a record that pulsates with fun, funk and wit. Those fans who know about the band’s recent history will be just as likely to break into tears as they think about Ethan White, Tortured Soul’s keyboard player who died suddenly at age 39, leaving behind a wife and two infant twins.

Those who know the history of the three man funk/disco band known as Tortured Soul will break into song and dance upon hearing Hot For Your Love Tonight, a record that pulsates with fun, funk and wit. Those fans who know about the band’s recent history will be just as likely to break into tears as they think about Ethan White, Tortured Soul’s keyboard player who died suddenly at age 39, leaving behind a wife and two infant twins.

In the obituary that Chris Rizik wrote on White that appeared on SoulTracks after receiving news of the keyboardist’s passing in early March, he discussed how Ethan White accomplished a great deal during those short 39 years. He started playing piano at seven, studying classical music and then jazz, which led to landing a regular gig at Birdland where he played with the heavy hitters in the jazz world. The musically curious White began an exploration of acid jazz when that sub-genre gained popularity in the late 1990s, and that resulted in the formation of Tortured Soul, the outfit that earned White, drummer John-Christian Urich and bassist Jordan Scannella a loyal following.

Tortured Soul’s greatest professional accomplishment can be seen and heard in the joy that permeates their music, and Hot For Your Love Tonight is a record brimming with happiness from start to finish. On Hot For Your Love Tonight, Tortured Soul totally covers every aspect of dance music, ranging from the straight up disco of the title track to the techno/funk/dance music of “Last Time We Made Love,” to the contemporary synth pop of deviously fun track “Dirty.”

The rhythmic and throbbing “I Don’t Need Your Love Tonight” wraps a pulsating house music arrangement around the tale of a guy who wishes to dispense with the niceties of getting know a woman and instead head straight for the bedroom, while “Can’t Keep Rhythm From a Dancer” finds Scannella laying down an ultra-smooth bass line while Urich lends his tenor voice to a story of him advising a guy that the only way to a woman’s heart is to join her on the dance floor - bringing to mind Chic from the late 1970s.

Tracks such as “Girl (Take a Break Backstage)” shows that Tortured Soul can take it up to now with ease. This is a party track with a narrative that finds the fellas inviting a lady (or more) to a backstage VIP party where the drinks flow freely. This is one of several tracks where White displays his dexterity and creativity on the keyboard as he propels the track with a heavy synth sound that seems to energize the falsetto that Urich deploys on the song’s hook.

It’s impossible to listen to this effervescent record without juxtaposing the celebration of life that defines Hot For Your Love Tonight with the grief that White’s wife and band mates currently confront. The only thing I can say is that by releasing this record, they have provided Tortured Soul fans an excellent party album that serves as a fitting tribute to the keyboardist’s memory. So purchase it and sing if you want to and cry if you need to. But most of all, dance. Highly Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
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