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Diversity by Gentleman

Diversity by Gentleman

Diversity by Gentleman

By on - 1 comment

Arguably his finest work.

Sampler

It's a sad but telling reminder of how things have changed in European reggae when Island, the London based maverick label that brought the music to the continent, unveils a German reggae superstar's masterpiece to fanfare everywhere but the UK. Nonetheless, the sixth album by Osnabrück’s Gentleman, now signed to Universal (who own Island) is arguably his finest work.

Gentleman - DiversityThat said, people who found Gentleman’s past records too soft and commercial will find this one even more so. The poppiness of Donovan Vendetta Bennett's rhythms, which are the most frequently used here, will raise similar hackles among some of the older generation of reggae dancehall fans to Bennett's pairing with the rawer sounding but still radio-friendly Pressure Buss Pipe.

But in keeping with the album's concept, there's a lot more besides going on in terms of producers, guest vocalists and rhythm styles. Classic dancehall is represented by Tempolution (on the Tempo rhythm with extra vocal and production from a Nitty Gritty and Tenor Saw referencing Anthony Red Rose), while Good Old Days sees father and son team King Jammy and John John relick the former's Jammys Water Pumping base with the equally delicate voiced Sugar Minott in tow. Shane Brown lends his touch to Along The Way featuring fellow German and musical diversifier Patrice. The ever welcome Bobby Konders supplies the frantic dancehall backing for No Time To Play.

The three versions of the album available (a single, double and cd plus vinyl 45 boxset) pose the question of which to buy. It’s close but the deluxe double edition beats the single disc thanks to some excellent modern roots numbers. The grim Silly Walks production Shut Eye Country featuring Luciano and Jack Radics, and the vintage guitar driven Bridge Over Wall both illustrate how great Gentleman's subtle sugary tones can sound when laid over rougher rootsier fare.

Best of all, Gentleman, project engineer Sascha "Busy" Buhren and executive producer Stephen "White Scorpio" Schulmeister, manage to keep all this sprawling diversity in check, to craft an album that binds together without any dips or divergences. Gentleman gets to ride the biggest rhythms out of Jamaica for a reason: and if you're a fan of his, or just of good pop music, buy one of the two double disc editions and enjoy...

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Read comments (1)


Posted by BURNIN FYAH on 05.10.2010
BIG UP GENTLEMAN!

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