Detroit 's musical scene is typical for a city of its size. There are thousands of bands and players performing in every genre. History tells us that for every Motown act that made it big in the 1960s, there were hundreds of acts on smaller labels that never made it beyond regional status. Those bands were highly competent, but they didn't get the breaks that came to their Motown brethren. Part of the reason is that they may have mastered the high art of the jazz/R&B fusion, but those groups didn't master the art of merging the soul and jazz with catchy hooks and radio friendly pop melodies - the kind that transformed Motown into the sound of young America.
People who like to listen to music that features sophisticated and mature lyricism and musicians who are not shy about creating R&B that has an overt jazz sensibility are going to dig TNJP, the new record by The Neo Jazz Project. Those who like their R&B to be a bit more mainstream might not have enough patience to hang with TNJP from start to finish. TJNP has 14 tracks, and some work better than others. The five minute long spoken word piece "Power & Vanity," drags. However, luscious gems such as "What Was It," are a credit to R&B balladry and jazz improvisation.
Notable tracks: What Was It, We Got To Hold On, Saturday Night, My Man
Vocals: 3.0 stars
Lyrics: 3.0 stars
Music: 3.5 stars
Production: 3.0 stars
SoulTracks call: Recommended
By Howard Dukes