Personnel: Marc Antoine (vocals, guitar, keyboards, synthesizers, bass, programming); Bernadette Barlow, Allan Sovory, Larry J. Blouin (vocals); John Lewis (vocals, programming); Sam Riney (saxophone, flute); Mike Mainieri (vibraphone); Michael Mishaw, Chris Conti, Michael Railton (keyboards); Jimmy Haslip, Armand Sabal-Lecco, Derrick Bourne (bass); Willie McNeil, Lenny Castro, Juliet Prater, Steve Reid (percussion); Jason Daniel Silva, The Lumberjack (programming).
Recorded at Frazzy Frog Studios, France and Slamm Shack Studios, North Hollywood, California.
All songs written or co-written by Marc Antoine. Samples include "The Lope Song" (Eddie Russ/Jazzmasters).
Personnel: Marc Antoine (vocals, guitar, keyboards, drum programming, sampler); John Richard Lewis, Jonathan Lewis (vocals, drum programming); Bernadette Barlow, Allan Sovory (vocals); Sam Riney (flute, saxophone); Michael Mishaw, Chris Conti, Michael Railton (keyboards); Mike Mainieri (vibraphone); Willie McNeil, Steve Reid , Lenny Castro, Juliet Prater (percussion); Jason Daniel Silva (drum programming).
Audio Mixer: John X.
Recording information: Frazzy Frog Studios, France; Slamm Shack Studios, North Hollywood, CA.
Illustrator: Julie Granahan.
Photographer: Bernadette Barlow.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Jonathan Lewis; Marc Antoine .
Despite its preponderance of drum programming, Marc Antoine's sparkling debut, Classical Soul, has a consistent loose-feeling, free-for-all jam session quality that every smooth jazz artist should strive for. A touring guitarist with the Solsonics and Basia, Antoine brings a combined sensibility of modern and traditional R&B, jazz, and even blues to a tasty mix surrounding a sharp, crisp, and to-the-point acoustic flair. The tastiest aspect here is the mix of this unplugged comfort with a worldly backbeat. Over generally bouncy electric soundscapes, Antoine weaves a seductive spell that is part accessible melodicism, part escape and challenge. And along the way is the disc's most remarkable achievement, the flamenco-edged "Universal Language," on which Antoine doubles as keyboardist with the piccolo bass sass of Armand Sabal-Lecco. A few overemphasized vocal effects could be trimmed without pain, however. And while the guest list isn't quite as glamorous as those often assembled for a Doc Powell session, Antoine gets stellar support from the capable likes of Jimmy Haslip, Lenny Castro, Steve Reid, and -- adding magic both dark and wistful -- Sam Riney on flute and sax. ~ Jonathan Widran