Feb. 4, 2013
It’s been quite a few years since keyboardists/vocalists Alan and Lita Blake have released an album, but has it ever been worth the wait. The duo comes out swinging on a new release called I Will Be There For U, a wonderfully conceived album of covers and originals complete with compelling vocals as well as solid instrumentals.
While I am one who receives covers with a bit of wariness, often concerned about quality, creativity, and imagination, along with the artist’s capacity to create original material as competent as the very tunes they cover. This duo has done just that. The covers here are almost a complete overhaul with the Blakes practically making them their own by virtue of interpretation and imagination.
The lead track, Stevie Wonder’s classic jamarama “Superstition,” is full of hard charging drive and keyboard magic. The same can be said of Kool and The Gang’s “Ladies’ Night.” Their own “I Will Be There For U” is a strong delivery of soul and feeling as Lita Blake struts her worthy vocal talents. What these artists do with the classic “Alfie” makes it one tune that you simply must hear to grasp the creativity that went into that interpretation. Simply delicious.
This album has it all — from great covers to tracks I’m hearing for the very first time (e.g., the previously mentioned title track, “Holy Groove II,” and “Faith in You.” A tasteful, very well-conceived project rooted in true talent and an understanding of the role that strong interpretative skills have in conveying the groove to the contemporary jazz community. – Ronald Jackson