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Issue 1099

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Review

Joanna Law: Rhythm Of Years (Tangental Music)

Joanna Law: Rhythm of Years (Tangental Music)

8

6.1

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UK release date 08.03.2021

The release of "Rhythm of Years" marks a return to the fray for Joanna Law and sees her material finally make album form. It's a mix of old and new, never before released songs during a nascent period of dance grooves that still had that ever-important human element too, especially the guitar brilliance of co-producer, the late great, Ross Anderson (who, I happened to work with extensively) a musician's musician who is sorely missed

"Skin On Skin" has that silky Soul II Soul vibe, which is no wonder, as producer Simon Law was involved with those celebrated London Funky Dreads and you can hear a slice of ‘a happy Face, a thumpin' bass for a loving race' embedded in Joanna's music.

To date, Law's best-known track is probably her 'urban' take on "The First Time (Ever I Saw Your Face)" which got a good deal of attention on its release in 1990. Produced again by Mr Law and with jazzy organ runs from acid jazz Hammond player James Taylor, who gives it that William Devaughn "Be Thankful for What You Got" treatment. Joanna's pure crystalline voice just adds the icing on the cake, especially when she scats.

The material is strong and stands the test of time. The clean, airy and polished production is one of the reasons. "After The Storm" with its nascent trip-hop feel exemplifies this, a moody two-chord seesaw of a song, peppered with ECM trumpet, some male scat and a breathy lead vocal. "Calling All Angels" grooves along nicely with some great swinging drum programming and a skanky guitar lick, ethereal keys and a cheeky steel pan!

There's plenty of variety on this highly evocative album that finally sees the light of day and is a great testament that has coalesced into something deeply-rewarding. It's extremely soulful and a tightly constructed affair.
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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