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H. Mack & The Philadelphia Sound Machine: Press

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WELCOME TO THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE! * WELCOME TO THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE! * WELCOME TO THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE!

H. Mack – Getting Ready

 

Feb. 3, 2011

Here’s an interesting, smooth, colorfully soulful offering from an equally interesting, smooth, and colorfully soulful artist. With a resume that lists vocalist, bassist, radio host, Philly native, replacement lead singer with the former Motown recording artists Ron Thorpe and the Hearts of Stone, record label owner, and publisher, I think one can surmise that H. Mack comes quite seasoned. His latest release, Getting Ready, is a nice blend of R&B/soul, pop, blues, and smooth jazz. It sways, it strolls, it croons, it takes its sweet time, and that works here.

The majority of tunes here are written by Mack, with the exception of well-done covers of Stephen Bishop’s “On and On” and the classic “Mr. Bojangles.” The album spans a few genres rather effortlessly and unapologetically, even proudly. There’s a high-steppin’ old school bluesy, jazz quality to “Raphael Blow” with some classy vocals and harmonies, while the blues screams out clearly to me on the powerfully expressive “I’m Gonna Put My Love Away.” The very melodic “We the People” can be embraced by enthusiasts of several genres. A piece that’s universal in its message, as well as in its music. The inspirational “Love Me Today” is bound to capture you with its riveting message, as well.
 
In this genre, when you see the word “bassist” follow the name of an artist, you often form a preconceived notion of what to expect: An expressive, out-front bottom-heavy presence of the instrument that often, in many years past, was relegated to a support role somewhere off to the side of the stage during a live set or in back of the main feature. We’ve learned that is no more, and we so happily embrace that. Yet, it was interesting to step back for a moment and hear this artist who directed so much more emphasis on his vocals and message than on his instrument, as it was in the early days of the Motown musicians, and still be effective and relevant. H. Mack comes to us with messages that speak even louder and more clearly than his bass. Good, sound messages matched by good melodies. Just listen. – Ronald Jackson

Ronald Jackson - The Smooth Jazz Ride (Apr 12, 2011)