Real Spice of Life
Dena Luv - The real Spice of Life 01. The Real Spice of Life. Ah, the kick drum, the saxophone, the groove, the vibe, the nylon guitar. Here we go on another groove and soothe filled journey with the greatest record producer ever, Mr. Stephen R. Duhart. A luscious blend of vocals arrives evoking Luther Vandross. Sav Wah Fare and Har by Far definitely set the tone on the first track, The Real Spice of Life. The backing vocals of Mr. Duhart and Ms. Judith Walton add just the right touch. Trust me; you are going to want to hear this track over and over and over. And that nylon guitar? Huge kudos to Mr. Kay Ta Matsuno whose imprint will be all over this disc. If you are anything like the guitar junkie I am, you are gonna want to listen to this disc just to hear Kay Ta lay it down. Tone. Touch. Timbre. Sweet. Mr. Duhart gets this disc off to a spice-alicious start. 02. Mon Soon Rain. The groove continues in track two, Mon Soon Rain. If it isn't raining when the track starts, you are gonna think it is starting because the music starts to hypnotize you like raindrops on the rooftops. First the beat and the sax by Mr. Jamie King start to bring a pitter-patter to your nerve-centers. About the time you are falling into the trance, Kay Ta brings some more nylon stuff providing a wonderful counterpoint to the raindrops in your eardrums. You just gotta hear the interplay between Kay Ta and Mr. King as the nylon guitar and the sax jump in and out of your hear-zones. So tasty - like Fosters Freeze on a hot sunny summer day. 03. In the mood. Did I mention raindrops? Is that thunder in the background? I want you to hear some of the most friggin delicious electric guitar that I have heard in years. When I first heard this track, I could not tell if I was listening to Larry Carlton tickle his 335 or if this was really Kay Ta. Kay Ta - what you doin' man! No doubt Mr. Duhart makes sure that Kay Ta has a beautiful, trance-inducing, on-the-beat foundation to work his guitar magic. I have to note, that the drums-bass-keyboards foundation for this disc is largely the work of Mr. Duhart himself. Himself! And, along with Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Duhart wrote all this stuff!! Mr. Duhart! In the zone. In the Lou. From the heart. If you love groove, guitar, groove, guitar, you are gonna love this track. 04. Madison Ave. Layers of sax-o-phones. This is a Duhart "tell." Like a poker player has a tell. You see, Mr. Duhart knows that building up a track is like making the Roux that a chef is going to put in his Gumbo. You SLOWLY, carefully, add the perfect mixture of ingredients until that Roux is just right. Well, this is how Mr. Duhart approaches the task of music production. Just listen to that saxophone-roux that he blends ever so slowly into the musical Gumbo of this track. Mr. Jamie King gives Mr. Duhart exactly the "ingredients" Mr. Duhart needs to synthesize this delicious musical Gumbo of sax, groove and beat. 05. Funk Juggernaut. On this track, Har by Far and Sav Wah Fare bring some funk into the equation. "Laid back, rollin' in my Cadillac, sippin' on (Cog)'nac." I mean really. You don't say. I like this car. HbyF and SWF bring us along for the vocal ride that eventually gives way to Mr. Jamie King's sax. HbyF and SWF definitely bring you along for a laid back but funky trip down the road in their Cadillac ... is that Coleman Hawkins at the end of this track? 06. Ancient Soot. Okay. I got my seatbelt fastened and seat-backs and tray-table in their upright and locked position. Good thing too because Kay Ta and Mr. Jamie King are ready to take off. Kay Ta's electric guitar gets us cruisin' at about 30,000 feet, before he puts this track on auto-pilot so that Mr. Jamie King can take the controls. A classic Mr. Duhart groove (spelled kick drum) provides the octane to keep this track snuggled gently in the clouds. 07. Joy and Pain. This is a masterpiece of an arrangement. I love it when Mr. Duhart gets all his dominoes lined up like this. He gets the WHOLE orchestra into the act. Mr. Duhart is as good as anyone in the business at this. Drums, bass, keyboard working together as one. Keys, guitars and other instruments taking their turn in the spotlight then laying back to create a beautiful overall effect that is much more than the sum of it's parts. Kay Ta plays such lovely lines that it is hard to describe with words his contribution. A forceful, propulsive beat, as is so often the case with a Stephen R. Duhart production, provides such a strong base for the track. Kay Ta's guitar shows up much like a thoroughbred racehorse that is being led to the gate - you can just tell the horse is ready to run. Kay Ta. What a treat. 08. We Are Dena Luv. HbyF and SWF now come back. Their voices, blended together, sound so rich and delicious. Along with Mr. Duhart, and Ms. Judith Walton, the beautiful female singer with the wonderful voice singing backup throughout the disc, the effect is wonderful and warm. Kay Ta goes back to his nylon guitar to add some spectacular support to the vocals of HbyF and SWF and company. And always the beat. Mr. Duhart never loses sight of the beat. It is ever present. It is ever-grooving. It is always there - like the sun behind the clouds. Even when you can't "see" it (with your ears), you know it is there. Like the earth spinning. Ladies and gentlemen, music does not get any more beautiful-to-the-ears than this track. Get that special someone and just hang - listen - and talk. The music will take care of everything else. I promise. Oh, and thanks to Hollywood for playing as beautiful a muted trumpet as can be played. Period. 09. ColBrillant. To close the disc, Mr. Duhart puts Hollywood, the master, on keys and Rhodes. That's right. The same Hollywood playing the muted trumpet on We Are Dena Luv. This guy can flat out play. Just about anything you put in front of him. It comes from a place deep, deep, deep inside. Like maybe St. Louis. That tasty wah-guitar thing you ask? That is Mr. Duhart himself. Listen to those beautiful runs by Wood. But once again, the overall groove, the master architect, the chief engineer, the musical center? Mr. Duhart. Oozing music from his every pore, his every brain-wave, his every breath. DNA baby. The Roux. Don't mess with the Roux. Now all I need is a beer. This is a highpoint, even for Mr. Duhart. And that is saying something. Much love Duane Carlos.