Mr Hermano Free As the Morning Sun

Described as lovemaking on vinyl, Mr. Hermano's sultry Latin house topped with cool jazz overtones has been given a polished finish in Free As the Morning Sun. The group name is a moniker for British duo Ben Mitchell and Chris Fleming, who created the outfit four years ago and released their debut, O Globo, in 1999. This follow-up is every bit as sexy a bossa soul record as their previous material. It also adds equal parts panache to their Latin soul and house inclinations by daring to cover Santana's classic "Free As the Morning Sun." The song gets a Mr. Hermano reworking with a 32-strong gospel choir and the lead vocals of Billie Godfrey, whose melodic wail resounds through the track. Giles Peterson, amongst others, has been abuzz, dropping some of the tracks on dance floors and radio stations, all for good reason. The songs may be less of the dance floor beat-driven variety but they are definitely at the frequency of partner-oriented, salsa hip tilts and quick footwork. Imagine smoky bars and warm nights with dramatic dance moves and Mr. Hermano's songs would be the sound track to the evening. Mood shifts are sudden and alluring, as in "Jugando Con Fuego part 1," which is a slow, smooth lounge-like number that suddenly breaks into a "part 2" fireworks array of Latin beats and an infectious bass line. Though it is largely delivers a mellow mood, it has an air of celebratory intensity to it, courtesy of the vocal talents of Billie Godfrey, Evi Mendes, Mary Pierce and Geoffrey Williams. Sexy vinyl, indeed. (Disorient)