Greyboy: Soul Mosaic: A Case Study in Beats, Soul and Funk (2004)
The first set in three years from Southern California’s premier producer/DJ Andreas Stevens marks a decade since his Freestylin’ debut helped establish acid jazz as a modern musical force.
Soul Mosaic settles Greyboy nicely into the niche he helped create. Its instrumental tracks whack back to the retro-'70s soundtrack feel of his previous Mastered the Art set, and the tracks with vocals are truly songs and not just instrumental tracks with vocals. Bart Davenport sings on two possible singles, an update of Stevie Wonder’s “To Know You is to Love You” and “Genevieve,” nominated for “Track of the Year” by the BBC Radio1 “Worldwide” show.
UK producer Quantic (Will Holland) delivers a smokin’ bonus remix of “Genevieve,” nudging it from Greyboy toward the more European hip-hopster Guru, and he guests with (US) East Coast vocalist Sharon Jones on “Got To Be A Love”; Jones also scorches “Got To Stand For Something,” while Paul Nice remodels “Got To Be A Love” as another bonus remix. Miss Jones’ vocals bubble with just the right blend of sweet, sassy, soulful and sexy—the hip-hop Chaka Khan.
A skeletal yet throbbing rhythm track supports Davenport’s strong “Genevieve” vocal, and its falsetto bridge dusted with acoustic guitar creates a Curtis Mayfield old-school soul sound that Bing Ji Ling echoes in “So Good” later in the set—an unique blend of futuristic (techno) funk and retro soul. The harmonica solo, once a “Little Stevie” trademark, helps Davenport nail down the composer’s sound on the Wonder cover, as does the instrumental track that glides like a speed skater across sleek ice.
Greyboy still delivers state-of-the-art instrumental jams, serving beats chopped and looped with D-Styles and Ricci Rucker in “Son Ray,” “Omega” (cut from the same 1970s sci-fi soundtrack cloth as “Logan’s Run” from Mastered the Art ), and the most beat funkiest “Big Tito.”
Track Listing: Genevieve; Son-Ray; Bronson; See My Eyes; Omega; To Know You Is To Love You; Awright; So Good; Got To Be A Love; Big Tito; Loggia; Make Music; Gotta Stand For Something; Everyday Problem; Genevieve (Quantic remix); Got To Be A Love (Paul Nice remix)
Personnel: Greyboy with Bart Davenport, D-Styles and Ricci Rucker, Mainflo, Quantic, and Sharon Jones