Thursday, 13 October 2011

The Artists - Howard Hewett

So, Grizz kicks off this series of mixes with the great Lonnie Liston Smith. Doesn't even feel the need to include Expansions on said mix as the man has such a great body of work. If you haven't checked it out, do it now!

Here's my first contribution to our Artist series.

If I were to rate my top 5 vocalists, Howard would be in there.

A voice like honey, made for ballads, weirdly found success with many an uptempo tune for Shalamar. Not to say that Howard wasnt perfectly equipped to handle them (He proved so on many big tunes) but his voice is so subtle and controlled that you could be fooled into thinking it would be like putting a $10,000 needle on a $50 record player.

But then, Shalamar were not any group. Don Cornelius (Soul Train creator) introduced Hewett to fellow Soul Train dancers Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel, and their group, Shalamar, was born. The trio had many hits such as "Friends" "A Night to Remember", "Make that move" and the ballad "This Is For The Lover In You". Hewett was the group's lead singer from 1979 until 1985 when they broke up. He produced many solo LP's thereafter.

I dont think he has received the props he should have (Actually, I KNOW he hasnt!) , with many looking down on his Shalamar days as "Disco/pop/r&b" and the belief that all he is currently is a gospel artist. (Both are not true; With Leon Sylvers III on production and the Solar family writing with the band, Shalamar were always a class act IMO, and this mix displays many non-Gospel tunes, although "Say Amen" is his signature tune.)

He is well respected by his peers, collacorating with the likes of George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Teena Marie (Where he duetted on Congo Square).

He is my first pick to be showcased in our artists series. One of the great Soul Voices, underrated, and needs to be making new music. Now since Leon Sylvers did such a great job with N'Dambi's last LP, maybe they could............awww. I'm dreaming.

The Artists - Howard Hewett
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