Various: Soul Sessions (2002)
Giant Step is a brand name when it comes to soul music, in all its traditional and not so traditional forms. This collection, mostly derived from Giant Step’s own catalog, showcases a depth of talent and variety within a who’s who of the modern soul movement. It goes beyond the recent hip-hop/soul hybrid phenomenon of neo-soul, to explore the fusion of soul with production that is influenced by broken beat, drum & bass, house, and funk. There’s the futuristic epic soul of the Herbie Hancock and Chaka Khan collabo “The Essence”, remixed by Joe Claussell for a 13-minute saga that sees a head-on meeting between classic soul and modern electronica. Ultra Nate’s sublimely evocative “Twisted” bears the hallmarks of 4Hero’s classy production and Imani Uzuri’s “Again” is a haunting showcase of this new talent. Seek’s “Ever After” is a sweet jazz/house blend that gives the mood an upswing toward the end of the CD. Closing out is “Mariposa” by Nickodemus & Osiris - a hip-hop influenced affair with a Latin flair. Finally, Shawn Lee’s acoustic guitar driven “Happiness” sends you home with a smile on your face. Soul Sessions is an expansive collection that takes in soul in all its forms, hybrids and moods and elevates it to the next level for one extremely classy CD. Stunning.