listen to the then, just mastered edition of Sunstorm. I was so happy about the impending listening session after the show, I broke into the running man right there and then. Yup. I didn’t break into dance simply for the invite, but mostly because I know the genius behind Zo!’s skills and was enthusiastic to hear just what the end result was going to be.
Excited about his new baby, Zo! pressed play and sat back, as we did too – in anticipation of what was going to be emitted from the speaker. The light piano intro played ever so elegantly and then Phonte’s voice edged on through with a warm and tight flow on “Greater Than The Sun”, while we all nodded our heads in succession to the beat. At that point, we were all transported to Zo!’s world and what a great start it was for an impromptu trip.
I can still remember everything from that night every time I press play on Sunstorm in the here and now. My favourite track on the album “Greatest Weapon Of All Time” featuring Sy Smith, induced a broad smile across my face and it still does. The first words I uttered were: “This song makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside…” That transition/break down towards the end of the song? Phenomenal. “Say How You Feel” featuring Phonte and Carlitta Durand is playful and the duo complements each other, right down to the background claps. It is only fitting that there be instrumentals on Zo!’s project and “For Leslie” is a quick, yet very memorable piece. The track is laced by flutist Claudia Hayden, who’s contribution brought a great tone to the instrumentation. Darien Brockington sounds amazing and his honesty is downright straightforward on “Be Your Man, ” I didn’t know whether to talk back or sing along to the track. The chorus alone had me on the first spin with its roller-coaster melody. And then you can’t help but let the soul clapping and two-stepping begin with “Free Your Mind” featuring Lady Alma. I had no idea who she was (I was schooled and research was done) but I can tell you, she now has a new fan in me! Being a house-head, it would be sacrilegious not to enjoy this track and I will not be the one!
The album title, “Sunstorm” performed by the always funkalicious Yahzarah is on point. It is perfect – from her kittenish “la, la, la’s…” to her melodious delivery. The song itself wisps in like a sexy storm and Phonte’s half of the song fits in like a flawless puzzle piece. The jazzy Brat Pack feel of “If I Could Tell You No” is totally different for Jesse Boykins III, but I really dig it. The track that is clearly a summer anthem is “This Could Be The Night” featuring Eric Roberson, Darien Brockington and Rapper Big Pooh. It is one of those surefire hits. The driving beat, the vocals, the playful lyrics – it’s a package deal! Just rock back and forth and the music will take care of the rest. Upon listening to the intro of “Flight Of The Blackbird” I wouldn’t have thought about Phonte on that track at all. The swift composition and incredible trumpet blasts (y’all already know how I feel about brass), along with the ’70s inspired ad-libs throughout, make this track a glorious run all the way through. The softness of “All Is Well With Love” featuring Chantae Caan brings the vibe down a notch with its chilled acid jazz sound. It is an impeccable track to set the mood right for what’s to come. Monica Blaire left me speechless with “Make Love To Me.” The song drips titillating escapades and mad sensuality. It is definitely the runner up to my favourite track “Greatest Weapon Of All Time.” If this song has not already been added to your ‘naughty mix’ I have no words for you. It is ten minutes of bliss you do not want to miss out on.
This album right here…goodness. It is on steady rotation and has not left the iPod since I received it. I would not be exaggerating when I say I talk about and recommend this album all the time. It is a superb collection of tracks, production and collaborations. I truly don’t know what more I can say that screams ‘purchase this album’ so, I will simply leave it at that.
You can find out more about Zo! and the album at these outlets:
Zo!’s blog Musical Architecture