Drummer and composer Roger Odell is founder and longtime member of the famous British group Shakatak. Like the other musicians of the group Roger has established his own solo projects. Roger calls it Beatifik.

In late 1999/2000 Roger recorded the first album entitled Blue Window. One can call it a family project, because his son Jamie played on keys, his wife Larraine and Jacqui Hicks were the featured vocalists, his daughter Maxine sang background. On the second album Intrigue (2015) performed beside Roger, Larraine, Jacqui, Jamie and in addition Mornington Lockett on saxes and Keith Winter on guitar.

Now Roger returns with the third solo project The Long Drive Home (2019). The cast is the same as on the second album. Bass guitarist Simon Goulding from the Snake Davis Band joins the formation. Guest appearances by vocalist Liane Carroll, trumpet and flugelhorn player Paul Higgs and percussionist Snowboy round off the whole thing.

The music of Beatifik has taken a phenomenal development, it is still similar to that of Shakatak, but it nevertheless treads new musical paths. The starting song Disguised featuring vocalist Jacqui Hicks thematically revolves around a dark night event in which two individuals meet. Jamie Odell's synth bass and keyboard solo set strong modern accents.

When Your World Was Mine is a melancholic love ballad in which the protagonist reflects on a lost relationship. Jacqui Hicks with her lovely tremolo is sensitively accompanied by Keith Winter on guitar. The Latin tinged Slaves To the Beat describes people who lose themselves in rhythm and forget the worries of everyday life. 

With the singer, on Surrender also the mood changes. Lorraine, Roger's wife, brings the message with a lot of authenticity. Topically, the song circles around a woman who lives restlessly through the night, not knowing what her relationship is like. Mornington Lockett refines the singing with his lively saxophone. Cruise Control delves in synth harmonies with variants of keyboard sounds.

Celebrate is a song about two lovers who have known each other for a long time but finally found each other and enjoy their fortune. According to the liner notes, the song leans stylistically on Stevie's Living For The City and Sly's Dance To The Music. Danza Del Diablos is located as the title indicates in Latin Jazz. The fast rhythm attracts the virtuosity of all participating musicians, particularly Simon, Mornington and Jamie.

Blue Mood is the description of a melancholic ambiance, which is reflected especially in the cold season by the bluish shimmer. Paul Higgs on muted trumpet and Mornington Locket on tenor sax with their subdued playing help to ensure that the mood credibly reaches the listener.

Lazy Afternoon is a song by composer Jerome Moross and writer John Treville Latouche for the musical Golden Apple (1954). The song became popular by Barbara Streisand's cover (1975). I's one of Roger Odell's favorite songs and he had precise ideas about how the song should be done. Jamie Odell's orchestral string introduction has pleasantly surprised him in its perfection and the smoky voice of his wife Lorraine does the rest.

Estepona Sunrise is a musical impression of the picturesque city at the Costa del Sol. Keith Winter flawlessly captures the Spanish character of this vibrant city with his guitar, while Snowboy delivers the matching rhythmic frame on his cojon. On Island Hoppin' Roger follows his affinity for rhythm. Snowboy lives the beat on congas, wooden sticks, cow bells and other rhythm devices he can get his hands on. The Caribbean dream becomes reality here.

The Long Drive Home is presented by Liane Carroll, a recognized vocal interpreter with the right jazzy timbre and soulful empathy. The ideal line-up for an atmospheric finale.

Sometimes it's time to give voice to your own creations. Roger Odell has got three of theirs making his music sound and so one joins the other. The Long Drive Home is a masterpiece with good reason.






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Album Information

Title: The Long Drive Home
Artist: Beatifik
Year: 2019
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Secret Records


1 Disguised 4:57
2 When Your World Was Mine 4:50
3 Slaves To the Beat 5:14
4 Surrender 3:41
5 Cruise Control 4:44
6 Celebrate 4:33
7 Danza Del Diablos 5:36
8 Blue Mood 5:08
9 Lazy Afternoon 6:20
10 Estepona Sunrise 5:35
11 Island Hoppin' 5:36
12 The Long Drive Home 4:28

Further reviews:


The Blue Window