your Spell” by Shakatak – reviewed by Chris Mann
have been a household name for over 20 years.
They are exceptional in a couple of ways: they have won
popular acceptance by writing catchy, energetic songs but stayed
close enough to their jazz-funk roots not to alienate their
hardcore fans and since 1982 they have had the same line-up.
line-up is keyboard player Bill Sharpe, whose piano sound became
the early trademark of the band, drummer Roger Odell, singer
Jill Saward and bassist George Anderson.
extensive catalogue includes the huge-selling “Night Birds”
and “Down on the Street” and the very funky and satisfying
“Shinin’ On” from 1998. In the late 80’s and 90’s they enjoyed major success in
Japan – indeed “Under Your Spell” was released there in
2001, a full year prior to its release in the USA.
Time to see what they’ve enjoyed for a year…
is a gloriously upbeat and catchy vocal chant, which is so
optimistic you’d probably know what it was without reading the
drops for the vocal Falling but the mood is still sweet
and soft. Jacqui
Hicks’ backing vocals are sublime on this one.
Sharpe’s clean piano leads on the gently hip-hop flavoured The
backbeat, scratching samples and a lazy groove make the perfect
backdrop. I like
that echoed, muted trumpet sample too…
a classy feel on Paradise Garden.
That insistent bass underpins the piano and the longer I
listen, the more I get into this one.
Roger Odell’s rimshots keep this just ticking over.
In parts it sounds old-fashioned and that just adds to
can be is the urban Under Your Spell.
This song is nice and moody.
To me, the backing vocals are more satisfying than the
lead – they are more soulful somehow.
Is this destined to be a single?
It should be.
old jazz-funkers, listen to the intro to Changes and
you’ll hear echoes of an old Deodato number – is it “San
Juan Sunset”? Seriously old skool! The
vocal makes you realise you’re not in a time warp. Backing vocals are once again kickin’!
more old skool vibe on Running Back to You.
Vocoder, spacey synth, nice backing vocals (here I go
again) and a groove that’s going to get to you.
That mix of ‘dry’ vocal and vocoder is just what
dance acts have been doing for a couple of years.
Listen for shades of Incognito all over this – love
into the groove – Tahitian Nights is sexy and a nice
mid-tempo dancer. If
this had a mellow tenor sax or acoustic guitar solo and a cool
key change I’d have it on endless “repeat”.
Time is a disco record –
unashamedly a disco record.
Shakatak rode the disco wave first time around and this
could do serious dancefloor business now.
I’m listening for a more muscular bassline from George
Anderson – someone say 12” remix?
stormers will lap up In My Mind.
The soprano sax, courtesy of Chris “Snake” Davis,
sounds sweet. The
key change has to be heard a couple of times to get comfortable
with it. If those
finger snaps had massive reverb on them, they’d sound corny
– but, you know, they’d sound fantastic.
its feet, shades of Paz, shades of monster flautist Dave
Valentin – that’s Til’ Sunrise.
The vocal chorus brings a Brazilian flavour.
This is blissful – it’s very jazzy and that mellow,
bubbly bass is everywhere.
a nice backbeat characterise Silver Falls.
That bass synth and bass guitar fills work very well and
that cool piano floats over the rhythm just, well, just like you
want it to. Leaves
you wanting more.
ballad to end. Tell
Me Tonight features another sweet female vocal and even
sweeter alto sax.
gave the impression of Shakatak as a versatile and very in-tune
band. That was
have been around a long time and have obviously observed and
reacted to trends in jazz, funk and soul really well.
There are enough vocals to guarantee radio play and a
variety of moods to keep everyone happy.
Instinct Jazz 607
– Produced by Shakatak