Jazz/soul chanteuse, SHEILA FORD is the latest signing to DJ Spen’s Quantize Records and cuts from her brand new LP, ‘Here You Are’ are already taking the dance world by storm… and no wonder, the 17 tracker is stuffed with the classiest, quality soulful house that you’re likely to hear all year.
Mind you with producers/mixers like Louis Vega, Dimitri From Paris, John Morales, the Muthafunkas and Spen himself in the console chair you wouldn’t expect anything less.
The team behind the album allows Sheila to start with what she’s best known for …. quality lounge jazz. The original mix of the album’s title tune is a sophisticated slice of that genre; it’s so cool that you can almost hear the chilled Martinis clinking in the background. Think Nancy Wilson for the 21st century.
The song then gets a big tweak from Spen himself. The beats are cranked up…. nothing too frantic, though. Our man retains all the sophistication and highlights the ultra classy jazz piano that’s essential to the track. Sheila coos beautifully with shades of the great Anita Baker. You’ll hear echoes of Anita (now what’s she up to right now?) throughout the album as Sheila scats, improvises and mimics instruments with an amazing ease.
Highlights abound but I kept getting drawn to ‘Oh I (Miss You)’ – a lovely little shuffler with a garnish of Latin rhythms and some great input for duettist Marc Evans. It’s a delightful builder. The Muthafunkas’ produced ‘Always’ is another big tune and if you want to hear some great soul singing try the stripped down short reprise. Dip in anywhere, though, and you hear quality soulful house, with the emphasis firmly on the SOULFUL.