Indeed Soulful - Bobby Lee

          Reviewed by ChokLatHipChiK

Mr Bobby Lee has come a long way on his MusikaL Journey of Life...

This unassuming individual brought us Desire, Strength & Ambitions - his critically acclaimed debut album, released in late 1999.
We then got to sample the delightfully delicious Ocean Love-gentle undulating rhythms and reflective moods.

Following up from this, we were delivered an equally punchy “Round Two”, in the form of 2nd Phaze (2007) -15 Heavenly Musikal Delights, featuring bumpin’ trax such as This Groove (love the rap vocal - “Gotta Get Loose, This Groove Is Just What I Need To Hear Too”), or the Fresh n Funky, Hip n Happnin’ Charisma - with its Totally Trippin’ Trumpet In Tow. 

However, It Was Only Yesterday(from 2nd Phaze) - with its prepossessing vibes intro, complete with relaxed guitar rifts, keys and tranquil percussions, that was the inspiration behind the second project, that particular trak being dedicated to the memory of his dear late Grandmother Mrs Lillie Lowery.

In celebration of the second CD’s outing, Afternoon Drive, was released as a third project soon afterwards - in maxi single format. As a two trak single which also included that refreshingly cool sizzler Golden Summer (from 2nd Phaze) it conjures up images of Candy Cotton Clouds, Warm Breeze Thru Your Hair & Sun-Kissed Cheeks. A “must have” trak for those long relaxed journeys, without a care in the world... Bliss!

Now, in Spring 2010, we are given the pleasure all over again by listening to this uniquely talented artist’s fourth and definitive compilation - Indeed Soulful - a cool, heady and sophisticated blend of 14 of the most innovative smooth contemporary SoulJazzFunk collections heard this year.

This album kicks off with Jazzy Twilight - A beautiful intro, sweetly awakening us with its distinctive LaidBackBobbyLeeGroove, before bursting into Day Break - an all 70s Funk-inspired bass, expansive synths with the accompanying smooth sweet sound of the trumpet. Indeed Soulful - The album title trak. A subtle yet adventurous fusion makes this trak upbeat & optimistic. Room To Breathe - Ephemeral elements of a gentle sax working in tandem with the synths to produce that State of Being that brings us to that quiet space in our mind. Double Up - Hypnotic vibe underlying a serious à la Stanley Clarke/Marcus Miller style bass & keys. Intermittent bursts of the horn section, comes together to produce what I would term as an ‘Understated Funkiness With Attitude’.

The tempo is taken down a few notches and Like Powder Pink Rose Petals Cascading lightly over Charmeuse Silk Sheets - Just A Touch is Seductively Sensual, with the Sax Slowly Simmering... Here Waiting Sees the patience and continuation of that sax, with a splash of acoustic guitar & bass which has a Flamenco Style ambience. New Oasis - Hauntingly, the trumpet & sax sets the stage, whilst the keys gives it a real Mid East flavor. With added percussions, the musikal arrangements in this trak are simply exquisite. Top Gunning Interlude Fires us up with a Disco influenced element. Heavy on The Funk, Up-tempo, “Hurried”, Edgy, Bold, Assertive - all the while maintaining that LaidBackBobbyLeeGroove thruout. Suite Groove Cools us down with muted horns, kaleidoscopic keys and an infusion of wah wah guitar. Again, slow and measured, in a Dream Like State. Familiar Places introduces itself with a distinct sound of the bell followed by the presence of the synths, added sax, and percussions, leading this trak into a Spacey Intergalactik arena worth exploring.
Reconditioned - Deep and dark, with up tempo keys, subtle wah-wah, interlaced with flute and full musikal arrangements, makes this trak a mandatory head- nodding and toe-tapping requirement.
With the penultimate trak - Miller’s Mantel, Mr Bobby Lee does not disappoint with this second generous helping of funky all round grooves. Marcus Miller-esque bass, in equal measures with giddy guitar rifts, intuitive keys, stellar strings section, and a feisty rock element to round it off. A clever, original and fitting tribute to that great bass player himself - Marcus Miller.

Here(Still)Waiting concludes this wonderfully and lovingly constructed MusikaL Paradise. The yearning displayed by the acoustic guitar near the beginning, followed by the longing of the trumpet and sax, makes the title of this trak apt. The strings ebbing and flowing as a backdrop to the ” Punch Drunk & Dizzy” drum loop keeps it tight, but paced. Lightly sprinkled shakers topped with a “Wild & Abandoned” rock guitar rift that fades out as the trak ends, makes for a spectacular finale to this versatile and refreshing album.

Yes, this über-talented multi-instrumentalist Mr Bobby Lee has come a very long way! Indeed Soulful, is clearly evident of that. It displays a maturity you see unfolding thruout his MusikaL Journey of Life.

Like the other great pioneers of Smooth Contemporary Jazz - George Duke, Jeff Lorber, Brian Culbertson, Kirk Whalum, to name but a few, Mr Bobby Lee is right up with them. He is the next generation of 21st Century JazzKats. Versatile, Progressive, Innovative, Distinctive, Sensitive, Sensuous, Playful & Serious. Certainly not afraid of Pushing The Boundaries, as far as musik production goes.
This album, a real Labor of Love, has to grace any discerning Musik Lover’s library... It certainly has mine!

Bobby Lee: Indeed Soulful