Mitchell Coleman Jr. — Soul Searching

Dec. 11, 2014

Another competent artist and low frequency pro steps onto the stage of great contemporary jazz and funk music in the form of one Mitchell Coleman Jr. whose debut solo release, Soul Searching, is Michael Coleman picsure to stop many a bass lovin’ jazz aficionado dead in his or her tracks as they check out this groovemaker.

With help from the likes of guitarist Kayta Matsuno and veteran vocalists Pam and Joyce Vincent (formerly of Tony Orlando and Dawn), Coleman lays down a thick and airtight foundation from which down & dirty funk grooves like his “Flow,” “Overload,” “Déjà Vu,” and “Genesis” sprout and join up with tracks like the cool and smooth mid-tempo “Come Up” (which features some great jazzy work on the ivories from pianist Deron Johnson) and  the high steppin’ “Just One More Hit” featuring guitarist Sean Fabian delivering some hot riffs. There is no questioning whether or not this bassist knows the path to groovalicious.

Only one cover (Earth, Wind & Fire’s classic “That’s the Way of the World”) is present on this generous 14-track project that Coleman has co-penned, arranged, produced, and released on his own Soul Revelation label. Not bad for a debut that’s bound to leave a heavy trail of steam wherever it’s heard.

Adding a nice touch of diversity and exoticism, Coleman tosses in a taste of African rhythms with “Ethiopia Love,” mixing in a healthy slice of percussion with that funk-heavy bass.

One tune that truly stopped me in my tracks is “When Your Life Was Low,” a sweet and tender track, featuring a vocalist by the name of Dionyza Sutton whose vocal style is an uncanny mirror image of the classy and legendary Randy Crawford. Literally sent chills through me.

Coleman follows that track with a finale that’s a fusion barnburner called “Liberation,” which, except at one brief and mellow point, calls for a fire extinguisher.

There is nothing even remotely boring about this strong and energetic set of tracks that clearly mark the beginning of good things to come for this artist and his followers. Many come to this and other genres with a skill set but not much vision. Coleman’s vision is definitely 20/20, and this effort is a solid A+ one. – Ronald Jackson

Note: This release is not yet available on Amazon. However, clicking on the CD image above will take you to CDbaby where you can hear samples.