Proper soul fans need no introduction to Chris Jasper. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer made his name with the Isley Brothers, of course, and then with splinter group Isley-Jasper-Isley. His sweet voice, melodic songs and cutting keys were integral parts of both bands and what’s more Chris has also enjoyed a successful solo career. There’s a slew of successful albums to his name and this latest – dedicated to his wife, Margie – delivers all the quality and soulfulness we’ve come to expect from Chris
The album opens with its title track. ‘The One’ is a quite lovely, dreamy ballad that will recall the best of the Isleys, though Chris puts his own stamp on it with his ethereal vocal style. Given that the album is a romantic paean to Mrs Jasper, you can bet there are plenty of other classy ballads… and there are; amongst them ‘Kiss Me’ and the lovely swaying ‘Your Love’ (some great harmonies here by the way)… it’s one of the album’s real highlights.
Chris has been round the block enough to know that one-paced albums are difficult to deliver, so he injects plenty of variety. ‘Rock The Foundation’ is a chunky, mid-tempo groove while ‘Man Up’ shows that Chris can still do that very special gritty funk that he helped establish back in the day. Then there’s ‘Right Now’ where the pedigree is straight from the Isley’s ‘Harvest For The World’ via the best of Michael McDonald… a great tune this one!
That leaves the album’s oddity… odd in the context of a set dedicated to his wife. It’s Chris’ cover of ‘What’s Going On’. Don’t know how many versions of Marvin’s classic there are, but Chris gives it a totally unique spin different to any I’ve heard… and it works.
Find out more about this album @ www.chrisjasper.com and also be sure to check our interview archive for two exclusive interviews with the man.