Back in January 2011 I commented that ‘North End Soul’ from writer, producer and multi instrumentalist Vincent Ingala was, by any standards, an outstanding piece of work. In fact it proved to be spectacular debut and set the scene for what evolved into a truly remarkable year. In San Diego, at what became know as ‘The Lemonade Weekend’, Ingala owned the stage at Anthology and later jammed with Peter White at the Hard Rock Hotel. Twelve months later his ever growing fan-base is already hungry for more and on that theme, Vincent’s next project, ‘Can’t Stop Now’, will be released this coming summer. With seven original compositions, two spellbinding covers and guest performances from Jonathan Fritzen and Greg Karukas ‘Can’t Stop Now’ seems certain, even at this early stage, to take Ingala to the next level.
A blend of sax, keys and guitar illuminates the wonderfully the up-tempo ‘Wish I Was There’ in a way that succinctly demonstrates the penchant Ingala has for radio-ready contemporary jazz and talking of the air-waves, the album’s silky smooth title cut is already storming up the charts of most played on contemporary jazz radio.
Elsewhere the sensuous ‘Read Between The Lines’ eases Vincent close to chill territory and when he partners with the invariably tremendous Jonathan Fritzen for the easy grooving ‘Kimi Trick’ the musical chemistry that flows between these two fine artists is really something to savour. Another top-notch collaboration comes in the form of ‘Groovin’ U’ where in the company of keyboard player Greg Karukas, Vincent delivers one more magical moment in a collection crammed full of them.
Vincent hails from the North End of Waterbury, CT where many of his family members grew up listening to the funk, R & B and soul of the day. By the inclusion of several impeccably chosen covers his previous album embraced these old school sensibilities to perfection and with ‘Can’t Stop Now’ Vincent has again got right to the heart of what great soul music is all about. For example the O’Jays blockbuster ‘This Time Baby’ (from their 1978 release ‘So Full Of Love’) receives an edgy yet smooth Ingala makeover and when he gets his hands on The Moments 1973 hit ‘Sexy Mama’ the result is just as good. However, in the final analysis ‘Can’t Stop Now’ is all about the immense talent that Ingala, both as a writer and performer, routinely displays.
A case in point is ‘If I Could Fly’. With a shuffling beat, a splendid groove and Ingala’s dual input on keys and sax, this one is right up there with the best that ‘Can’t Stop Now’ has to offer but all things considered my Smooth Jazz Therapy top-track is the wonderfully inviting ‘Just Imagine’. With the magnificent Ingala front back and centre, this is a track that could easily make it into my top twenty of 2012.
Make no mistake; ‘Can’t Stop Now’ is destined to be one of the outstanding smooth jazz CDs of the year.