Maiko Watson Sweet Vibration

Maiko Watson Sweet Vibration
The last thing you'd expect from an alumnus of the silly reality television series Popstars concoction known as Sugar Jones is something as mature and sublimely soulful as Sweet Vibration. The self-produced, arranged and written (except for one song, co-penned with ex-husband Remy Shand) solo debut from Winnipeg, MB-based Maiko Watson is quite a personal triumph and a first-rate showcase for her lush, soothing vocal tones, which are wrapped in a spirited mix of jazz, reggae, soul and disco influences. There's not a duff track out of the ten on the disc, but two personal favourites have to be the up-tempo workout of "Some Kinda Love," which echoes early '80s NYC dance music so well that Larry Levan might have rocked it at The Paradise Garage, and the urgent command of "Wise Up," which updates Bill Withers' acoustic soul, sporting Watson's most emphatic performance of the set. At 35 minutes, Sweet Vibration seems a bit short, but that's just indicative of the quality of the material. One listen to this and you're going to want to hear more. (Independent)