She has taken us by storm and is here to stay forever.JAZZ!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This very 'special' and enthralling album features some of the finest jazz musicians around such as George Duke on keyboards,Christian McBride and Alex Al on bass,Ray Fuller and Dean Parks on guitar,Gordon Campbell on drums,Lenny Castro on percussion,Everette Harp - saxes,Oscar Brashear - trumpet, the fabulous Perri Sisters - background vocals.They are all shooting for the richest and lushest sound possible ! If you add to those fantastic ingredients the supernatural voice and the soulful,classy phrasing of Regina,you'll get what you're looking for...a slice of perfection !! Best tracks of the album :IF I SHOULD LOSE YOU and WHY DO PEOPLE FALL IN LOVE. TRUE MASTERPIECES !!The latter one takes me back to another majestic classic 'What goes around' from her album 'Stay with me'. It these songs do not move and touch you,you are six feet under !! We all know HOW she can sing passion,feelings, emotions..It will make you sing,it will make you dance,it will make you...fall in love !! As you may have heard,the truly GREAT albums almost always take multiple listenings to be really and fully appreciated,and this is is in every sense the case of 'LAZY AFTERNOON'. Definitely,this organic,risky,splendid album marks the return to the charts ( for justice's sake and for the peace of mind of all the true lovers of quality,non-commercial music ) of an authentic,consistent Diva in great fashion and her irresistible rise to the top of the game as one of the most acclaimed and influential song-stylists/vocalists on the market. So,take your time and get ready to be enchanted !
Thinking about the 'making' of the magnificent 'Lazy Afternoon', I came to believe that this is the hardest album she's ever made. With it,the adventurous song-stylist has set a totally new trend for Jazz/Soul Vocals. So intense,engaging,very original in the concept,diverse. ...and all that jazz...!! Why don't you check her new site: www.reginabelleonline.com WARNING !! This album is NOT for everybody !Its extreme,warm,exuberant beauty may be hazardous and you may be...poisoned !! ONLY for educated listeners !If you like the easy,samey,heartless singing of Natalie Cole,the glittering and simpering sex-pop of Beyonce,the croaky,weak,lacklustre,butcher-style vocal tricks of Rod Stewart, the grand-las-vegas histrionics of Celine Dion,the current saccharine flow of smooth jazz or the cold,algid embrace of Diana Krall,this album is NOT for you! NOT for the jazz fundamentalist or R&B purist,but for those of us who enjoy breathy,new,heartfelt,fresh workings of traditional Soul/Jazz singing. "
Great smooth jazz with competent vocals
Olukayode Balogun | Leeds, England | 07/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've never really paid much attention to Regina Belle though there's no doubt that she's a gifted and competent singer. I bought her 1987 release "All By Myself" and her 1989 "Stay With Me" but then the 90s came. Given the kind of music Belle was popular for at the time, she just got swept clean off my radar in the wave of the likes of Janet, Mariah, Mary J and of course, Whitney.
Then my best friend told me about this album. My ears really didn't perk up until he mentioned that it was jazz-influenced and produced by George Duke. I didn't need to hear any more and I immediately placed my order.
It doesn't disappoint. Most of the album is made up of Broadway covers and standards and the issue with going this route - especially where standards are concerned - is that someone has obviously done them before you. So, for instance, for me, "Lazy Afternoon" will always mean Patti Austin, "Fly Me To The Moon" will always mean Frank Sinatra, "Corcovado" to me means Stan Getz, "The Man I Love" means Ella Fitzgerald, "Try A Little Tenderness" will always be All Jarreau's song and "For The Love Of You" will always be Whitney Houston's - or maybe, the Isley Brothers', depending on what mood I'm in. My point being, I think you need to be really, really good (apart from the aforementioned, think Diana Krall or maybe Michael Bublé) to make your own impression on a song that has come to be closely identified with someone else. Belle gives it her best shot here though and her interpretations are well crafted and sincere. Hers is not my favourite female vocal and even in this genre, I prefer the likes of Anita Baker or Rachelle Ferrell, but it's easy enough on the ear to make this collection of songs enjoyable.
The magic of this album though is in its production and George Duke, as always, has spread his brilliance all over it. He plays keyboards on the entire album and with able help from the likes of Alex Al and Christian McBride on bass, Dean Parks on guitar, Lenny Castro on percussion and Everette Harp on sax, from a smooth jazz perspective, this is as near to gold as it gets. Even the Perry sisters are in the house to lend great background vocal support. It's also worth mentioning that there is one original song, "There's A Love" and when Belle breaks it down as she does on "For The Love Of You" (vocals and fender rhodes only) and "If I Should Lose You" (just vocal and piano) she seems to revel in the freedom she's allowed and really allows her voice to shine. My favourite song on the album though is "If I Ruled The World".
This is by far the best album Regina Belle has done so far, in my view and it's one of the better - and probably underrated - releases of 2004. So if you're into George Duke or Regina Belle you'll like this. You'll love it if you're into them both.
When the MUSIC matters....This album is timeless !
musiclover | Paris, France | 12/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
It' s fair to say that the people of the Music Industry are a fickle bunch and often fully divided in their contrasting opinions of where lies the future of modern musical talent ( or , most of times , where is the gold mine which may exploited in the most profitable and commercial way ).
As rare as it is that these experts will agree on anything, it's interesting and refreshing to see that amongst them we currently have an artist that everybody is talking up with considerable acclaim as the modern reincarnation of Billie Holiday - the adorable and incomparable Regina Belle.
Of course the reason for this comparison is immediately apparent upon hearing this great lady's dulcet tones - soft, lilting, soulful, persuasive, immediately reminiscent of Lady Day but with a modern edge, it's the sort of liquid voice that soothes your brow and caresses your tired brain.
The 41 year old songstress has produced an album of soulful and sensual jazz covers that is just the perfect antidote to hectic modern life, leaving the listener wanting more..
This is a side of the artist that has been present in everything she ever recorded, and deserves the focus it receives here. In these dark times in the early 21st century, these are songs from the American songbook delivered by a true American original.
The highlights here are Ms. Belle's textbook reading of Tony Bennett's "Why Do People Fall In Love" and "If I Ruled The World", and her deeply moving version of the Gershwins' " The Man I Love " .
To sum up then, this palpable excitement is actually 100% pure diamond warranted - buy it now and tell your friends in a smug tone how you discovered it.
A REAL TREAT : JUST MAGNIFICENT.
L. Scott Clinton | MIAMI | 12/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's almost impossible to know where to turn at the moment if you are happy riding the wave of resurgent " accessible " jazz. Jamie Cullum, Diana Krall and Michael Buble have all contributed to an upsurge in the popularity and the listenability of jazz. And you can add Regina Belle to the pile. Belle is similar to Krall in that she doesn't only revisit jazz standards, and that she often takes quite big risks by completely reshaping a song, as a listen to the Gershwins' " The Man I Love" will amply confirm. On the whole, the risk-taking pays out handsomely, with some excellent tracks, well-arranged and excellently performed. The sublime Regina Belle has a prodigious jazz voice and has a backing band plainly in tune with where she wanted to take this album. "Why Do People Fall In Love " is for me the stand-out track. In an age of such mass produced commercial garbage in the music world it is unusual to come across such a great uncompromising honest album that works. Every track just hits the button. Regina Belle is clearly a musical genius and will surely become a legend. Well , she is already a LEGEND.... What a fantastic album! I was recommended this by a friend and I just can't get enough of it. Regina's singing and phrasing is so exquisite, so moving and so enjoyable. This album is a genuine mix of styles and moods, all of which she combines masterfully. This is one of those rare albums where you never have to use the skip button, as each track is such a joy, revealing something new on each listen. Just magnificent - a real treat! As it was to me, I strongly recommend you check this album out. It is not often you can claim to have found something fresh, new and exciting, but this album truly stands out. An absolute gem just waiting to be discovered.