Live @ the Jazz Cafe 26-11-10
Having missed them on their last UK visit in 2007, Michael ‘The Dood’ Edwards was keen to be part of the family when husband and wife duo Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon aka Kindred the Family Soul (Kindred) brought the mature side of Philadelphia Neo Soul music to London’s Jazz Cafe.
Rising to prominence with their multi-million selling 2003 debut album, ‘Surrender to Love,’ released in 2003 on Jill Scott’s Hidden Beach label, Kindred have since capitalised on that success with two further well received projects, ‘In This Life Together’ in 2005 and ‘The Arrival’ in 2008. All three albums were generously represented on the night, whetting our appetite for a fourth to be released in early 2011.
Taking to an already warmed up stage courtesy of London talent in the form of underground UK Soul guru Don-E, Kindred slipped straight into the funky vibes of ‘Alright’ from their third album ‘The Arrival.’ At its conclusion Fatin addressed the microphone and hollered, ‘Are y’all alright! It’s a pleasure to be back here…Thank y’all for coming very much. Did you miss us?!’ The audience whooped in response as the baseline to ‘Where Would I Be?’ the hit lead single from their second album filtered in. As a measure of how far their music has spread, the crowd sang- a- long to its die-hard message of gratefulness word for word.
After professing his love to his wife of twelve years, Fatin proceeded to introduce the jazzy, soulful vibes of ‘Rhythm of Life’ one of many stand out tracks from their first album. The change up into an upbeat Reggae stomp towards the end had the audience bouncing in synch. Fatin rounded out the tune singing a capella, show-casing his vocal prowess to the max.
Obviously, still buzzing Fatin playfully began to get fresh with wife. Aja quickly quelled his amorousness stating, ‘Calm it all down. Take it down! They know what we do!’ to which Fatin retorted, ‘I know. And we’re gonna do it again tonight!!’Aja then made it clear that they already have six children and she doesn’t intend to have any more…ever! Immediately ready with his comeback Fatin replied that he wasn’t gonna stop practicing anytime soon.
Interlude now over the loved up duo then dipped back into their second album, belting out sincere versions of ‘As of Yet’ and the ladies anthem, ‘Woman First’ in which Aja monopolised the stage and spoke and sang directly to her fellow mothers about juggling family life with setting aside quality time for themselves. Fatin made sure to edify and exhibit some love for ‘his’ woman when she was done.
Fatin continued to add fuel to the fire and stoking the sold out Jazz Cafe by asking, ‘Are you sure you want that old school Soul?!’ Before those gathered could answer in the affirmative, the timeless introduction to Eddie Kendrick’s ‘Intimate Friends’ consumed the air and everyone got their side to side sway on. Needless to say Mr and Mrs gave the tune more than a respectful re-working and I would dearly love to see a version of it on their imminent fourth album release.
After Aja had been suitably impressed by the equal of numbers of old and new customers who had come to witness the ‘Kindred Live’ experience, we were then treated to two deeply uplifting songs. First up was ‘No Limit’ from their most recent project, followed swiftly by ‘My Time,’ yet another catchy ditty of self belief, lifted from ‘In This Life Together.’ Once again time was made for some Fatin and Aja banter, this time Fatin confessing that he had recently had a vasectomy! He allegedly told the doctor to zip him on up! With that Aja defiantly claimed, ‘Six is it!’ a subtle reference to their online reality series of the same name.
From here on in it was nothing but pure kindred the Family Soul back to back classics. Beginning the trio was wedding favourite ‘Stars’ the second single from their debut album, ‘Surrender to Love.’ This smoothly transitioned into the warm vibes of ‘House of Love.’ Moving in for the kill, Fatin and Aja thanked the audience for their love and support in making the next song such a big hit. With that they launched into the smooth grooves of their jump off single from their first album and spring board for their careers, ‘Far Away.’
Fatin’s poignant opening line was cheered to the rafters. The words palm and hand come to mind. The Kindred devotees were hanging on to every word. Fatin on behalf of the band again thanked each and everyone for their support before we were all treated to a full blown version of Sly and the Family Stone’s, ‘Be Thankful.’ Half way through Don E was summoned to join them on stage for a group sing song. He duly obliged, his unique and silky vocals surfing the rhythm sweetly. We were made to feel one with the group especially when Fatin and Aja offered their mikes to audience members to see who could sing the chorus the best. Their musical spirit and harmony must have been catching that night because at least one man and one woman laid down some seriously soulful vocals to everybody’s surprise and joy!
Yes, we were all most definitely thankful for the arrival of Soul music stars, Kindred the Family Soul for transforming the Jazz Cafe into a house of love for one night only. It was a pleasure to surrender to love Kindred style and move forward in this life together in the knowledge that the institution of marriage is alive and well and that the legacy of real Soul lyrics and Soul music is in good hands.
Michael J Edwards
The Arrival (2008)
In This Life Together (2005)
Surrender to Love (2003)