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Noel Webb: The Soul Of

Smooth-jazz violinist Noel Webb has a lovely, plaintive sound, which he applies to a series of R&B-flavored compositions on The Soul Of (Labrador). Webb effectively juxtaposes lyrical violin and funky rhythms on “Like a Dream” and solos on a wah-wahed violin on the mellow but too repetitive “You Make Me Feel.” The track “Fever” isn’t the Peggy Lee classic but is rather a dusky, vocal-accented groover instead. Webb contemporized his take on Roberta Flack’s hit “Feel Like Makin’ Love” with a thumping beat and does a good job of soloing around Trena Steward’s vocals without either drowning her out or getting lost in the arrangement. The album’s other vocal track, “Color Us Human,” has a nice lyric about unity and tolerance, and vocalist Lisa Frazier turns in a pleasant performance, but the song suffers from a meandering, rather tuneless melody that doesn’t give either Frazier or Webb much of a chance to shine.

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