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Gemini Soul featuring Ajamu Akinyele: Liquid Soul

Ask musicians to put their unique style into words and they’ll likely snort and warn earnestly about the danger of pigeonholing. Gemini Soul has no such problem. The band wants you to pigeonhole it as “cyber jazz,” what it calls a combination of smooth-jazz and funk-fusion. The problem with that description is that it leaves you wary of soulless computer-generated blips and bleeps and loud, aggressive music leading nowhere.

Surprise, surprise. Gemini Soul, an appropriately “soulful” unit led by bassist Ajamu Akinyele and keyboardist Jon O’Bergh, is a mellow band that fits nicely into some of your higher-priced lounges in San Francisco, where the group is based. Songs overdose on heavy bass lines and finger pops, and O’Bergh’s keys are best when conjuring mellow sunsets a la Joe Sample. Their original material is choice, as are covers of Sade’s “Kiss of Life” and “Hang On to Your Love.” They also subdue Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five,” Peggy Lee’s “Fever” and Stanley Clarke’s “Yesterday Princess.”

Gemini Soul maintains a dreamy, classy sound throughout 13 songs and should be praised for not throwing in a crazy upbeat tune to announce its funk cred. A superb, mellow mood rules this tasty project.

Originally Published