SOPHIA NELSON: Woman In Love (Label: Harmonie)

  • Home
  • Reviews
  • SOPHIA NELSON: Woman In Love (Label: Harmonie)

Sophia Nelson hails from Ghana and this pleasing album was recorded in Paris with a full live band but the collection has an overriding Latin feel to it … not surprising if you know anything of Paris’ vibrant late-night club scene. The album’s clearly been crafted with the boites of Montmatre, the Marais and Montparnase in mind. That’s evident from the word go with the brass-enhanced Latin rhythms of the opener – ‘The Price To Pay’. It’s very similar to Alex Wilson’s superb salsa version of ‘Ain’t Nobody. There’s more of the same on ‘Caribbean Funk’. Good, but don’t expect real funk. The nearest we get to true funk on the album is with ‘Parisian Night Style’, but here we’re talking jazz-funk rather than Godfather style hardness. ‘Living Up To Dreams’ should bring back memories of the Acid-Jazz era, while the trombone on ‘Someone Special’ recalled prime time Crusaders. Other good cuts include the title cut and ‘Le B3 De Gibraltar- -both enhanced with fine Hammond flourishes courtesy of Phillipe Petit. Ms. Nelson’s African roots are evident on the high-life ‘African Child’ while her social conscience is bared on ‘Calle Blanca Blues’ -a song that focuses on Third World child poverty. Its seriousness is somewhat out of kilter with the album’s overall up beat take on life and living. It’s one of Sophia’s own songs as indeed are all but one of the 11 tracks. . That cover is a take on Grover Washington Jnr’s ‘East River Drive’, to which she’s added lyrics and a new title – ‘Mystic Melody’. Clearly it’s the album’ most complex cut and it features some nifty double headed keys from Fabrice Devienne and Lyndsay Thomas. I think dear old Grover would have approved. It’s respectful but a touch different and indeed if you like your soul music a little different then the whole of ‘Woman In Love’ is worth an investigation – do so at
(BB) 3/5