Circle of the Sun
Sensuous, laid-back urban grooves get a dash of international flavor on Jazzhole's fourth release, Circle of the Sun (Beave). Although the vibe is mellow, this album is anything but sleepy, thanks to the textured arrangements and solid performances by group leaders Marlon Saunders, John Pondel and Warren Rosenstein and a series of guest artists from all over the musical map.
"A Love Thing" sets Saunders' seductive vocals over a gentle groove that's accented with organ and bluesy guitar, while the title track combines bossa nova with Cameroonian singer Kaissa Doumbe's warm vocals and David Binney's plaintive sax. On "A Little Dress for Mary," Saunders' voice floats tranquilly over an organ-accented groove while layered, tabla-spiced percussion cushion Michelle Lewis' hypnotic vocals on the group's atmospheric rendition of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence." Jazzhole's version of Leon Russell's classic "Superstar," which features Doumbe singing in Duala, her native language, brings the album to a gently pulsing close.