Russell - Between The Sun And The Moon
time I got contact to Brenda Russell's music was her album "Paris
Rain". This album was released in 2000 on Hidden Beach Records. I
was deeply impressed by her ballads. To know more about an artist one
should listen to his best of album. So I listened to her albums
"Ultimate Collection" (2001) and "So Good So Right: The
Best Of Brenda Russell" (2003/UK). I was surprised to hear so many
popular songs which I could assign to well-known singers. For example
"Dinner With Gershwin" reminded me at Donna Summer's great
hit. "If Only For One Night" was made
famous by Luther Vandross. The wonderful ballade "Get her"
which made Oletta Adams so popular. "Please Pardon Me" was a
big hit for Chaka Khan. And don't forget "When I Give My Love To
You" , the chart-runner with smooth jazz star Michael Franks.
Brenda sings Pop, R&B, Soul and in many other genres.
Current projects are
the Broadway production "The Color Purple", which will
start in 2005, her co-project with Stevie Wonder "Justice Of The
Heart" for the movie "John Q" with Danzel Washington,
her co-composition with Ivan Lins "She Walks This Earth"
recorded by Sting for the album "Love Affair: The Music Of Ivan
Her new album
"Between The Sun And The Moon" is a further step in her
career. Newly signed to Dôme Records she explores new directions and
joined new contacts to European artists. A good example for this is Make
You Smile. The song was produced by Jean-Paul Bluey Maunik.
Don't await a typical "Incognito" tune. One can hear some
brass in the background (Dominic Glover, Nichol Thompson and Ed Jones)
but really decent. It's more a Bossa feeling which is accentuated by
Bluey's acoustic "Brazilian" guitar.
Cool For The Room is settled in the R&B area with some
strong hip-hop elements (drum programming). I especially like the
background choir which Brenda created with some overdubbing effects. Victor
Redwood-Sawyerr contributed a big part to this tune as a co-writer,
producer, recorder and player of keyboards, bass and drum programming.
Message has some oriental flavor. All instrumental music of the
song was performed by RonKat Spearman. The song has an impressing
hooking power. RonKat
is a vocalist and bass player with George Clinton and Parliament
Funkadelic. He already worked together with a
lot of great artists like Toni
Braxton, Stephanie Mills, Michael Paulo, Grady Harrell, The Jets,
Sheena Easton, Chante Moore, El Debarge, Chaka Khan, Prince, Lenny
Kravitz and more.
The title song Between
The Sun And The Moon
is a cooperation with Patti Austin. The song has a great African
influence and reminds me with his first part on the earlier works of Angelique
Kidjo ("Aye"). On the second part the song shows up a strong
Latin influence. Awesome the jazzy scatting of Patti Austin.
Jochen van der
Saag produced together with Brenda
I Know You By Heart.
Van der Saag is known by his work for the album Libertad by the group
"La Rey". May be this production with Brenda Russell opens
him new doors. The slow ballade has a modest atmosphere.
When You Comin'
Back To Me was
produced by Simon Law, Lee Hamblin and Brenda in London. Lee Hamblin
has worked among others with Les Nubians and Arnold McCuller. He is
also a great remixer ("Teardrops" by Womack & Womack).
The keyboardist Simon "The Funky Ginger" Law played among
others with The Chimes, Duran Duran, Ronny Jordan. He also wrote songs
for Soul II Soul. Another great artist is Nathan East (Fourplay)
playing the bass. Jazz elements were integrated by Gary Barnacle
(flute and sax) and Graeme Flowers (trumpet and flugelhorn).
A further slow
awesome ballade is Let
which Brenda co-wrote with the vocalist Bunny Hull. Hull was already
background singer on albums of Anita Baker, Oletta Adams, Michael
Jackson, Jimmy Cliff, George Duke and Peabo Bryson among others. He
also wrote for Angela Bofill, Patti Labelle, Stacy Lattisaw, Irene
Cara, Jeff Lorber, KC. & The Sunshine Band and others.
Tracks Of My Tears
is featuring Lee Ritenour on bass and acoustic guitar who also
arranged the song. This song was originally interpreted by the
romantic balladeer Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. The
song appeared on their album "Going to a
Go-Go" (1965) and was covered by innumerous artists like The
Jackson Five, Dean Martin, Areatha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Johnny
Rivers, Linda Ronstadt and more. A song of timeless beauty.
Two special guitar heroes James Harrah and
Michael James are playing on Different Eyes.
James already played on Brenda's album "Paris Rain". He also
played for Jewel, Madonna, Barry Manilow. Michael James played with
Gary Shapman, Everette Harp and others. The song has a special country
feeling obviously generated by the bottle-neck guitar and the organ
Ain't No Smoke is
the second production with Bluey for this album. The spherical sound
is produced by English keyboardist Dominic "Ski" Oakenfull.
He worked for Incognito ("Who Needs Love", "Life
Stranger Than Friction"), Galliano, Gilles Peterson and others
mainly from the British acid jazz (nu jazz) section.
You Know Our Day Will Come
is evidently a wonderful R&B ballade. It was produced by the same
team as When You
Comin' Back To Me.
Finally some jazz
with It's A Jazz
Day. This song is
a homage to all kind of jazz. Brenda sings about Metheny, Whalum,
Thelonious, Yellowjackets, Sanborn, Bona, Sting, Mingus, Joni, Ella,
Dizzy, Lins, Etta, Miles. Count Me In! Duke Me Out! She is accompanied
by Joe Vanelli (rhodes and vibes), Jimmy Haslip (bass), Moyes Lucas
(drums), Scott Mayo (sax) and Mark Ledford (trumpet).
If you like a sophisticated song album with deep and instrumental
prowess Brenda Russell's new album will be your first choice.