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Vesta: Relationships

Fierce, funky and sassy are adjectives often used to describe the vocals of Vesta, which thrive in heavy duty soul and gospel settings. Unfortunately, Vesta’s latest release, Relationships (i.e. music SACDIEM 20; 55:10), with few exceptions fails to capitalize on these strengths, opting instead for mostly slowed down urban contemporary half-ballads. Vesta’s inherent vocal emotion and unique rollercoaster phrasing is enough to carry half-baked arrangements like Stevie Wonder’s “You & I,” where gospel voice beats tingly synthesizer, and “Somebody for Me,” with her Patti LaBelle-meets-Bette Midler delivery. However, selections like “For Old Time Sake” sadly reduce this vocal lioness to a breathy clich . The best overall meeting between vocalist and band (including Gerald Albright, Lee Ritenour and Harvey Mason) occurs late in the album with “All Because I’m Free”- a jazzy, free-spirited romp which lets Vesta run wild with soulful vocalese.

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