Elements of Life - Eclipse
  • Genre:Dance
  • Released:19/03/2013
  • Label:Fania Records
  • Price:$39.95
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Elements of Life - Eclipse

Louie Vega


The Robert Glasper Experiment significantly altered the way in which R&B fans heard jazz and vice versa with 2012's Black Radio. In 2013, Louie Vega and Elements of Life's Eclipse may be the record that enlightens views about dance music's ability to bridge (not water down) many musical genres with its sophisticated meld of live music and DJ culture's aesthetics. Vega's EOL is the first signing of a new artist by the legendary Fania Records in decades. While Latin rhythms and Nuyorican soul sounds are among those heard here, they are only elements in EOL's attack, which includes African and Brazilian rhythms, jazz, soul, R&B, gospel, and pop. Eclipse is exceptionally consistent over 17 tracks and 78 minutes. It's there in poet Ursula Rucker's reading of her "Balance in All Things" and the Afro-Cuban grooves in the killer "Canto Para Ochosi," where an Afro-Cuban chant sung by Nina Rodriguez is backed by a cooking percussion, brass, and string orchestra, which spirals it out into progressive big-band soul. Soulful house vocalist, keyboardist, and songwriter Josh Milan is important in these proceedings; he and Vega co-wrote about half the album together, and his vocals grace numerous tracks including the the bluesy Latin soul-rocker "Children of the World," with smoking guitar by Sherrod Barnes. Anane (globally renowned DJ, singer -- and Vega's spouse) and vocalist Lisa Fischer lead the stellar "Most Beautiful," where jazz, soul, merengue, and funky house grooves mingle. Raul Midon's George Benson-esque guitar playing and scatting push the track from the dancefloor into the heart. "I'm a Woman, I'm a Queen" offers a gospel intro that shifts into high disco gear with Cindy Mizelle and Fischer singing. They also deliver the soulful house burner "I Believe in Miracles" with an urban gospel backing chorus. There are a number of excellent covers on the set, too. These include a globalized reading of Webster Lewis and Barbara Ingram's "Barbara Ann," sung by Fischer and Mizelle. It seamlessly weds salsa, disco, jazz, and funk. Fela Kuti's "Overtake Don Overtake Overtake" features vocals by Sheyi Olagunju. Anane offers a moving reading of Cape Verdean legend Armando Zeferino Soares' iconic "Sodade." Milan leads a spirited reading of the Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes samba standard "Berimbau," as well as a salsa-meets-jazz-funk version of Larry Mizell's "Harlem River Drive" (with beautiful flute work by Monday Michiru). The closer finds Anane taking the lead on Roy Ayers' "You Came into My Life." Simply put, there isn't another album like Eclipse. On it, Vega and EOL reach far beyond their earlier efforts in combining excellent songcraft and interpretive skills, with stellar musicianship, canny production, and a philosophical attitude that affirms dignity and humanity as logical extensions of music. [Eclipse also contains a bonus disc that features a 33-minute Vega mix of legendary Fania jams and originals, bonus cuts, and alternate mixes.]            


Track Listing

  • Balance In All Things1.52 
  • Canto Para Ochosi3.01 
  • Celebrate3.08 
  • I Dream A World5.55 
  • Most Beautiful5.18 
  • Children Of The World5.18 
  • Barbara Ann 6.11 
  • Overtake Don Overtake Overtake5.14 
  • Sodade3.51 
  • Love Is You2.20 
  • This Is Us3.21 
  • Berimbau5.53 
  • Harlem River Drive5.59 
  • Live Your Life For Today5.35 
  • I'm A Woman I'm A Queen6.00 
  • I Believe In Miracles5.28 
  • You Came Into My Life4.35 
  • EOL Soulfrito33.27 
  • Draggin' My Heels8.15 
  • You Came Into My Life (Louie Vega Roots NYC Mix)7.23 
  • Children Of The World (Louie Vega Roots NYC Mix)4.16 
  • Overtake Don Overtake Overtake (Roots Vocal Version)8.37 
  • This Is US (Roots Mix)9.46 
  • Pastime Paradise 7.39 

Total running time: 158:22

Louie Vega -Elements of Life Eclipse

Such a brilliant album from Louie Vega and the first new release on legendary Fania for over 20 years.

For any lovers of the sensational NuYorican Soul sound or anyone who has enjoyed Quincy Jones productions or any of Incognito's albums.  Saying that just doesn't do this album justice.  Do yourself a favour and please listen!!

Reviewed by:

Steven

2nd May 2013

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