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Darryl Anders AgapeSoul — Conversations

Sept. 22, 2018

AgapeSoul is the rock-solid ensemble of musicians assembled by veteran Bay Area bassist Darryl Anders. Conversations, this followup release to the group’s Believe In Love debut is one of the most polished R&B/jazz hybrids I’ve heard in a while.

Effective vocals by Zoe Ellis, Geoffrey Williams, Tommy Sims, Naté SoulSangar (Naté’s last name is so spot on – especially if you’re a veteran listener of soul singers — that I’d be surprised if it isn’t a pseudonym), and Ashling Cole give this eclectic and very rhythmic project that special shine that helps all good artists stand out among their peers. Adding to the charm of the album are great horn arrangements and appearances by the inimitable B3 organ and some bold synth work.

The album naturally displays some funky bass licks by Anders and a brilliance that simply makes one smile in appreciation.

Among the tracks of note here are the head-boppin’ slick lead track “Kite” that clearly sets the in-the-pocket vibe for the album, the soulfully moving and bluesy “The Lesson,” the bass- and B3-heavy “Fruitvale Gumbo,” the intense and emotive “Think About It” (SoulSangar takes this one into the stratosphere!), and the snappy title track. Of course, these are just a small sampling of the ever-mobile groove here.

The group strikes a great balance here with its eclectic feel and the way in which it integrates the chief genres presented here. The album stands on very firm ground and is definitely one worthy of your ear time. It has all of the ingredients you’d expect to be in that special soul/jazz “stew.” Taste this. A+ effort. – Ronald Jackson