After touring my ‘Light In The Shade Of Darkness‘ project in 2008-2009, I was really keen on doing an album with my band. We played so many concerts and I kept thinking “man, this is an amazing sound with two guitars, Fender Rhodes, Drum kit and four voices. If only I could make an album with this kind of sound.”
I started writing some new material, playing with chords I never really messed with before and writing lyrics in a way that was easier to hear. I want to make something people can really feel and tell stories that inspire.
I listened to a lot of Miles Davis, Bob Marley, Steely Dan, Cassandra Wilson, The Roots, Robert Glasper and Joshua Redman so I got into a kind of minimalistic music for a while.
As I was developing the project and laying down sketches I continued to tour. After playing in venues across the UK, Europe and parts of Asia, I started to notice something similar in all the places I’ve been to. It seems where ever I go, everyone is obsessed with speed and technology. I made me want to create a record with a more human pace and a positive outlook.
This vision became a personal quest to make a lo-fidelity album with a small group of musicians and to do it by using none of the studio techniques that I have been using for over a decade. At first it was really scary because it meant we’d have to leave everything sounding ‘natural’. This is a completely new way of working for me and I admit it was not easy to just leave stuff as it is.
I think this album is a truly heart warming experience. It features some really cool people who’ve been recorded in their natural state. No studio tricks, no super productions (nothing wrong with that, but not this time), no bad vibes, but lyrically, I try to keep it realistic but hopeful.
The album has some great vocal performances from (Atlanta born Vocalist) Crystal Night, Tracey Campbell (Mica Paris, Secret Garden) and a new vocal group: The Afro Petals. It also has special guest musicians Phillipe Sellam (NoJazz), Guillaume Poncelet (Oncle Ben, Michel Jonasz), Peter B Edwards (Tomorrow’s Warriors), Neville Malcolm (Incognito, Moon Dog) plus the my core ensemble on Guitars: Derek Johnson (Twinkle Brothers, Alton Ellis, Luciano), Alpheous Little (Folasade, Incognito), Drums: Westley Joseph (Soothsayers, Mitchell Brothers), Electric Bass: Andi McLean (Palma International) and on Fender Rhodes: Robert Mitchell (Steve Coleman).
I started out to make a dream project. A record that was raw but soothing. Something that is more about people and the places we dwell. Something that reflects our place during these difficult times. I’m not philosopher, but I hope this album will remind you of the power inside you. I hope it will inspire you to do better and continue to work hard to make your dreams come true.
I know it’s kind of cliched to be so optimistic, but I can’t help myself. I am living proof of the power of the One. I embody the change I seek and I know you do too. I really hope this will be a soundtrack to the best year of your life. I hope your Natural Eloquence will continue to shine in all you do...enjoy.