is no contemporary jazz group which can look back on such a
long-lasting career than the UK-based formation Shakatak. One cannot
pigeonhole their music to a special genre, they have their own unique
style, some call it britfunk, which is undoubtedly a trademark. Since
their first record (Bill Sharpe's Steppin') in 1980 they have
released a huge amount of albums which can be hardly surveyed. They
have released more than 50 (!) albums and even their website doesn't
list all copies. A rather complete but unfortunately discontinued
discography is to find on Ralf Henke's website
We are writing the year 2009. The music
world has changed. Earlier success doesn't count anymore. Sales rates
in the music business are constantly declining. Supporting radio
stations are changing their format. But there are still small islands
of devoted fans of this cult group worldwide. This review is dedicated
to these music aficionados. I have a message for you. Shakatak will
continue their recording and Shaks' new album Afterglow (2009)
is available now.
Shakatak are Bill Sharpe (keyboards),
Jill Saward (vocals), Roger Odell (drums) and George Anderson (bass).
The group is joined by guest musicians Alan Wormold (guitar), Jacqui
Hicks, Debbie Bracknell (backing vocals), who are also partners of
Shakatak's live shows, and Mornington Lockett (sax). Afterglow is
an exquisite and balanced collection of instrumental and vocal songs
with contributions of all band members.
Jill Saward 's glad tidings on the
starting song Footprints are uplifting and let you swing in a
good mood. "There's only one life. Live it and let yourself be free."
Alan Wormold shines on guitar. Stretch out to see him live with the
Shaks, The Simon Goulding Trio or in any other formation.
Best example for Shaks' perfect
arrangement is the title song Afterglow with a formidable
keyboard/piano intro by mastermind Bill Sharpe. Jill Saward's alluring
vocals have nothing lost of their glamour. I love Bill's brilliant
bridges on piano. But nothing can compete the group's competence in
the instrumental range as the Shaks demonstrate with First Light.
They are the lighthouse for all other groups.
With her soft and smooth voice reports
Jill about her love experience on Giving Up. The mid-tempo
instrumental Out Of Town brings some casualness and coolness
into the album. On In My Heart Alan Wormold's guitar riffs
immaculately fits to Jill's vocal interpretation. What can more mellow
than Jill's ballade Lullaby? Her caressing voice wrap the child
with security and love.
Red Sky is the only piece on
this album penned by drummer Roger Odell. But don't await a drum solo.
No, the tune is featuring the guest musicians Mornington Lockett on
sax and Alan Wormold on guitar following the ethereal theme performed
by Bill's keyboard.
On the Bossa Nova flavored Freefall
Jill sings about the intoxication of falling in love. The up-tempo
Latin inspired music is contrasting with the lyrics. Tower Of Babel
is a musical expression of the biblical story, especially the funky
horns scatter the music to a myriad of tones.
The party hit Groove Me Tonight
is certainly an homage to George Benson's immortal Give Me The
Night. The flame is still burning! Bill Sharpe shows his
qualities again on Domino Dance. His elegant style on Rhodes is
superb. The album is rounded up with the Latin inspired Sierra
Nevada. Bill flies over the keys like a young god.
with Afterglow anew their outstanding position in the world of
contemporary jazz and pop. You will definitely like their album. So
support this music by buying your copy at Shakatak's webshop. Paradise
is under your fingertip.
- Album Information
Genre: Smooth Jazz
01 Footprints [4:32]
02 Afterglow [4:37]
03 First Light [4:47]
04 Giving Up [4:36]
05 Out Of Town [3:54]
06 In My Heart [3:55]
07 Lullaby [3:49]
08 Red Sky [3:58]
09 Freefall [4:28]
10 Tower Of Babel [4:00]
11 Groove Me Tonight [3:56]
12 Domino Dance [3:48]
13 Sierra Nevada [3:54]
- Further Reviews