Shazz Shazz

Shazz has a style that often recalls that of his former partner Ludovico Navarre (St. Germain). It's a smooth fusion of house, jazz, soul and downtempo breaks. It's also a lot more emotional than the work of the latter, but that's most likely due to the efforts of pianist Alejandro del Abelgam and the other guest artists featured on this album. Abelgam's performances sparkle with elegance, especially on "Escapade" and "El Camino parts I and II," when he improvises Latin jazz lines over Shazz's minimal house production. It's also interesting to hear him bring a bright garage feel to the rougher hip-hop tempos on "Love You My Way." French chanteur Alec C. delivers "Pray" with a fine, nasal tone, while Charmaine King gives a blues-y goodbye to love on "Carry On." Ken Norris vocals on "Innerside" are arguably the most passionate of the three, singing a beautiful gospel on redemption and love. Unfortunately, neither of the two versions featured on the album come as strong as the original twelve-inch release from '98, nor the more recent Chez Damier remix that has made the track a dance floor favourite with garage heads on this side of the ocean. The drums are uninspired and restrained, as though its being fitted for commercial radio. Still, it's one of the strongest tracks on this debut. (Columbia)