Frootful ‘Heavyweight’ (Freestyle) 3/5

Frootful_HeavyweightSoul-jazz is very much still in vogue and this neo-take on the genre proves just why. A follow up to the 2011 album ‘Colours’, Frootful focus on the mid-1960s soul-jazz groove and is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Nick Radford who here performs primarily on bass and guitar. The opener ‘Them blues’ samples a famous cut from the Junior Mance Trio that features the unmistakable guitar licks of one Kenny Burrell. In fact the dance floor driven grooves on this set are quite diverse and include the raggaefied ska plus dub effects of ‘Gettin’ Ernest’, a homage of sorts, one presumes, to the great Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin. For fans of the organ combo sound, the instrumental ‘Benedict Boogaloo’ will fit the bill with some psychedelic guitar while those who like a little easy listening music will appreciate the guitar-led intro to ‘Ernie’s journey’. Funky blues-inflected riffs abound on ‘Blackberry Jam’ which also features some tasty harmonica. Lead vocalists vary, but on the mid-tempo soulful groove of ‘The Road’ they are taken up by Mazen Bedwei who is very much in the falsetto vocal tradition of Curtis Mayfield. Tim Stenhouse