Fertile Ground Black Is…


This is the fourth album for this Baltimore, Maryland band and it features them further honing their brand of what could be termed as spiritual soul music. As the title implies, Fertile Ground aren’t about to prescribe close-minded definitions when it comes to their music. This seven-piece band, under the auspices of ringleader James Collins, address their mission statement by exhibiting their versatility. The accomplished band adapts to Afrobeat, soul, R&B, spoken word poetry and in particular, jazz grooves with ease. Holding everything together is Navasha Daya, the group’s earthy regal singer. Delivered by someone less assured or accomplished, the eternally positive lyrics could be utterly unconvincing, but Daya proves to be a strong encompassing presence that elevates the band beyond simply being technically proficient. When the group matches her levels of intensity as on "Live in the Light” and the bossa nova tinged "Another Day,” the music comes close to capturing the mood of their transcendental live shows. These tracks seem to have sprung from intense jam sessions and also underlines why the rigid nature of the too-sweet "On This Day” simply doesn’t work. Overall, however, it is evident Fertile Ground’s own improvement is growing in the same leap and bounds as their positive word of mouth and deservedly so. (Blackout)