Album Review: Noel Webb, ‘Give It All’

noelwebb.jpgNoel Webb’s unique vision of contemporary jazz is led by an extraordinary voice, found in the form of Webb's trusty electric violin. His fourth album, Give It All, is a slick set of five songs made for the digital age in which fans look for quality, not quantity – and Webb mostly hits his target. Opening track, “The Ride,” is a fluid arrangement which inspires the band to inject a little bit of rock, pop and calypso over Webb’s feral electric violin lines. It’s a catchy number that really showcases the band’s raw live presence. However, on the second track, “Where is the Love,” Webb stumbles. “Love” is a delicate ballad drenched in natural acoustics, the backing band is sitting nicely in the groove and vocalists Trena Steward and Joel Gaines are perfectly matched in tone; but all is ruined by Webb’s abrasive electric sound which is plumped on top of the mix without any consideration of how it effects the song. Followed up with two safe R&B flavoured numbers – “Take the Journey” and “She a Tease” – there starts a common trend of creating strong songs without a clear vision of how it all sounds once put together. Ending with the smooth-funk of “Cool,” he really lets go of the fire in his belly with a blazing solo that ends in a disappointing fade out. There is no arguing Webb’s immense technical skill but playing to the digital age is putting limits on where he could take his listeners. (Red Lab Records)

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