CD REVIEW BY MARLON BURRELL ——
Label: VP RECORDS
Every now and then, an album whose title is truly descriptive of it’s contents comes out. Gentleman’s “Diversity” is one such album. This German reggae artist shows that he is the real deal with this album. “Diversity” draws from contemporary reggae and dancehall influences, while keeping ties with the music’s past. There are several collaborated tracks on this album and the choices of collaborators are reflective of it’s title. This project is also unique in that it was recorded in Jamaica and Germany, demonstrating a shift in the notion that good authentic reggae must be recorded in Jamaica and by Jamaican artists only.
“Diversity” kicks off with the nyabinghi flavored “The Reason” with an acoustic guitar accompaniment and sweet vocal harmonies. Next up is the Donovan “Don Corleon” Bennett produced “Changes” which is straight 21st century one drop. Bennett produced six of the album’s fourteen tracks. The next track, also produced by Don Corleon, is “Hold On Strong” which has the current dancehall sound. The first three tracks are indicative of the album’s title and the remaining tracks. The next piece is “Tempolution,” a combination tune with veteran singer and producer Anthony Redrose, who also produced this track. It’s an update of Redrose’s 1985 hit “Tempo.”
Several other songs on this project stand out. None more than the collaboration with the late Sugar Minott “Good Old Days.” The song is already making waves on several charts, including the New York and South Florida reggae charts. This sweet tune was voiced on the original track used for Johnny Osbourne’s 1983 hit “WaterPumping” where the Hi Times Band was in top form. The song does not sound dated with the modern mix treatment given. It was produced by veteran Lloyd “King Jammy” James and his son Lloyd “John John” James Jr. Another standout cut is the acoustic “Another Melody” which features Tanya Stephens. Produced by former Blood Fire Posse member Trevor “Skatta” Bonnick, this is message music at it’s best.
Don’t miss out on this one. This project was well put together as an album as opposed to merely a collection of songs put together and called an album. The “Diversity” of contemporary reggae and dancehall which draws from the foundation where today’s music is coming from.