Roy Davis Jr. Traxx From The Nile

It's about time that we got a proper album from Roy Davis Jr. As a much-in-demand producer and remixer, he is one of the key figures responsible for bringing the soul of African-American music back to house. And he does it in a way that is spiritual but also melodically accessible and in forms that could easily pass for R&B or pop. The tracks "Remember The Day" and "Join His Kingdom" are prime examples of this, with their consistent combination of biblical themes, up-beat funk and Roy's sweet falsetto. It's refreshing to hear a producer to take a chance with his own voice and Roy does it well, often revealing the Prince influence that is equally strong in the instrumentation. "Rock! Shock" evokes the throbbing bass of "Controversy," while "All 4 U" climaxes with a metallic guitar solo reminiscent the purple one's Revolution-era recordings. "Got 2 Get 2 Heaven" is almost acid jazz with its live-drum sound, and though it provides a necessary diversion from the disc's dominantly 4/4 thump, Roy proves to be at his best when the style is house, and the sound is straight-up, as it is on "Watch Them Come." The track features the earthy, yet ecstatic vocals of Peven Everett (with whom he collaborated before on 1997's Gabrielle) and takes the album's Christian sentiments into a less theological dimension of Pan-African mysticism. Although a Jazzanova remix of the track is featured in the collection, one feels that the collection might be more complete were some version of "Gabrielle" included instead. Perhaps the only drawback of an otherwise representative release. (Bombay)