for Love by David Sparkman – reviewed by Chris Mann
David Sparkman began singing at the age of three and has never
stopped. Since that age, his love of music and his religious faith
have gone hand in hand. He has developed into a gifted singer,
songwriter and producer as well as an accomplished musician who plays
piano and guitar.
David’s influences include Andrae Crouch, Art Tatum, Jimi Hendrix,
Sly and the Family Stone and Marvin Gaye. That’s gospel, jazz, rock,
funk and soul in the mix right there. His influences extend right to
The Beatles and Led Zeppelin.
tours the United States as keyboardist with Smooth Jazz guitarist,
Peter White. In 2003 he played keyboards/vocals on the Smooth Jazz
Christmas Tour with Peter White and saxophonist Mindi Abair. He most
recently played in England with Peter White and saxophonist Jaared. He
can also be heard on Peter White’s 2004 CD “Confidential”.
invite you to look at David’s own website
to marvel at his extensive credits. For now, let’s see what so many
people have already got hip to…
to Live My Life Without You is a
bubbling and uplifting slice of modern soul music.
That rhythm just cooks and the horn samples are tastefully
used. Sparkman’s lead and backing vocals are very strong. What a
great way to kick things off! The vocal talent is more to the fore on
the more laid-back Anytime. The backing is a very classy smooth
jazz one – drums and percussion are courtesy of Alex Acuña, and
veteran bassman Abraham Laboriel lends his usual tasteful touch.
romantic atmosphere is strong on In Your Dreams.
You’ll hear whispers of Peter White’s gorgeous guitar all
over this song and they complement the string synth backing very well.
I like that strutting drum track on the urban and funky I Wish That
You Were Mine. The pace is slow and the backing feels sparse –
but everything you need is there.
It’s so classy.
classy is the groovy Whatever Happened to Love with its light
hip-hop beat. We’ve got tasty keyboards too and strong hooks. This
is single material and should receive huge airplay. Peter White’s
guitar is heard more prominently on Something I Said, which is
a romantic ballad with a smooth, urban touch. The arrangement of this
song is of very high quality and this is up there with the best
R&B to be heard in 2004.
is fantastic and it’s a modern gospel song with Sparkman going back
to his roots. He’s performed and arranged the vocals to perfection.
The chorus is very clever and the hook is strong. I’m no fan of rap
but the rhyme on this song fits right in. Faithful is another
gentle urban outing, which has a pretty piano and acoustic guitar
backing. Film music – deeply romantic. Play it at your wedding.
nice latin feel and hint of Santana-style guitar on She Loved Me!
Acuña and Laboriel keep the rhythm moving and this is a very strong
piece of songwriting. The guitar could have been pushed forward in the
mix for even more drama in the fade. The strings on Two People
are sweet and well arranged. Sparkman is a ballad arranger par
excellence. He would be a great guy to call in to arrange vocals on
R&B albums. He has a great ear for harmony and that’s
particularly evident on this pretty song. The title song is a big-band
shuffle blues number with a live brass section, the Acuña/Laboriel
rhythm machine and Valerie Pinkston (whose credits are impressive) on
backing vocals. This must be great live. The Hammond B3 organ has got
to be the trendiest of old-skool instruments and it rocks on
am knocked out to hear a talent who is new to me release a CD which
sounds like a seasoned performer on good form. Sparkman composes,
sings and arranges brilliantly and provides a lot of the
instrumentation himself. He understands the urban pulse but hasn’t
distanced himself from the gospel, soul and jazz traditions. All of
this is done with taste and I would not be surprised if his next
release is a long time coming as other artists call upon his stunning
ability as an arranger.
from Sparks Heart – MFSH – LFL2004
– David Sparkman, Scott Nickoley, Co-producer – Derek Jones
Producer – Leo Bunnin