GEORGE ANDERSON; Expressions (Secret Records)

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George Anderson was – indeed is (the band are still a working unit) the bassist in Shakatak. In group down time, though, he makes his own music and ‘Expressions’ is his second solo album… though to describe it as a solo set is a little inaccurate. George, you see, is and always has been a team player and just as he’s one (important) component in the unique Shakatak sound, on the albums that go out under his own name he’s very much part of a team. Yes, he’s the leader; he writes the music and is the producer and arranger but he’s astute enough to know that a bass-led set (no matter how good) will have limited appeal. Instead, on his own stuff George prefers to indulge his passion for the music he knows and loves – the soulful jazz-funk of the 80s and to help him deliver he’s assembled a great team – Alan Wormald on guitars, Carmine Membrino on keys, percussionist Estaban Mutalo, trumpeter Terry Fay and sax man Matt Selby. Add to their experienced talents the time-served soul vocalists Debby Bracknell and Fil Straughan and you have the wherewithall to craft some great, good time soul.

George and his team set out their stall from the start. After a brief question from DJ Larry Vidal, they launch into ‘Back In The Day’ – a groove-led affair that extols (and recreates) all that was good about 80’s soul and its natural bed-fellow, jazz-funk. … great vocal here from Debby Bracknell. There’s more of the same on ‘Into U’. The tune’s sax-led with a strong lead vocal from Fil Straughan and there’s a real feel of the 80s about it. It’s like the stuff Cool Million do, but it’s somehow more authentic. ‘I Wanna Make You Mine’ ploughs the same retro furrow though ‘Moment Away’ is a mellower affair while ‘It’s About Time’ is a whole lot funkier. The 12 tracker boasts a number of ballads too. On the sweet ‘High And Mighty’, the quiet stormer ‘Closer’ and the gentle ‘Weakness’ Ms. Bracknell’s vocals are almost whispered but impactful nonetheless.

That then leaves the Latin dance romp that is ‘Latin Love’ and the set’s only instrumental, ‘Mr G’. That one’s big and brash and on it George shows off his bass dexterity. His father – who passed in May and to whom the tune is dedicated – would be proud of it. Indeed the whole album is something Team Anderson can be proud of. Find out more about the album @ and check our reviews archive for an assessment of George first album, ‘Positivity’.

(BB) 4/5