Groove Line

Wed. November 7, 2007 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

Jack Off. Jack On.
My new favorite CD at the moment is OVERTONES (TVT Records) by Just Jack. Not to be confused with the way too silly character from TV's Will & Grace, this Just Jack is a Londoner of unquestioned talent as a songwriter and melody maker. OVERTONES is a 13-track album filled with genre-hopping, hook-laden songs: kinda pop, kinda rock, kinda hip-hop, and kinda dance. Despite all these kindas, this album is a cohesive artistic expression that is fun, refreshing, and appealing and that will surely land Just Jack a whole bunch of new fans. And for those devoted Kylie Minogue fans, there's a track on OVERTONES, "I Talk Too Much," on which she is featured. With or without Kylie, this is a superb offering worthy of your attention.

Carlton: The Heroine
This is a hot time in music with lots of new releases recently, and one of the better CDs out now is HEROES & THIEVES by Vanessa Carlton (Universal Motown). This is the third studio album for the singer/songwriter/pianist Carlton and it demonstrates that she is maturing into an artist with supreme confidence in her style and sound that I would describe as adult contemporary with a steady diet of pop ballads. The eleven tracks on HEROES & THIEVES are beautifully crafted and produced, providing the framework for Carlton's fantastic and joyous vocal performances, one of which is with Stevie Nicks on "The One." They say that the third time's a charm, and without a doubt this third album by Carlton is a charming as well as a winning effort.

COMPed Admissions To History
There are two new compilations out now that bring forth some of the best music from years ago in their respective genres for modern day consumption. BACK IN THE BOX (NRK Music) is a relatively new series that has legendary house DJs dig deep in their crates to dust off and mix classic tracks that stand the test of time. The latest continuously mixed double CD release is guided by "Little" Louie Vega, who does a masterful job of blending definite classics with tracks that while not ascending to "classic" status, for sure worked dance floors into a frenzy back in the day. Stand-outs include "Gypsy Woman" by Crystal Waters, "The Pressure" by Sounds of Blackness, "The Bounce" by KenLou, and "In The Dark We Live" by Aphrohead. BACK IN THE BOX is a current-day masterpiece.

Going further back in time, CLASSIC DISCO #1's (Universal) is one of the more refreshing and interesting "Best of disco" CDs to come along in quite a while. In addition to well-known tracks such as "Y.M.C.A." and "Funkytown," this compilation includes lesser known (to today's audience at least) but seminal disco-era songs such as "Brazil" by Ritchie Family, "After Dark" by Pattie Brooks, and a Village People medley of "San Francisco (You've Got Me)" and "In Hollywood." Disco-philes are sure to love this CD.

Singles Life
I got three new tracks that I highly recommend you go buy and add to your MP3 playlist. Angie Stone's "Baby," from her new album THE ART OF LOVE & WAR (Stax Records), features the incomparable Betty Wright and a delightful neo-soul slow funk groove. The Matty Heilbronn dance remixes are on point, perfect for lounge play and early evening dance floor airing. Leann Rimes is back on the scene with her new CD, FAMILY (Curb Records), and has a hit on her hands with the single "Nothing Better To Do." Dance treatments come from Bimbo Jones, Soul Seekerz, and Jason Nevins. Finally, dance act Cassius delivers an infectiously plucky Bob Sinclar-ish "Toop Toop" off of their latest album 15 AGAIN (HBF/Justice). The full complement of dance remixes, five in all, is available at iTunes.