I have been a Rick Kelly/Soul Ballet fan for.... forever. Now, here is a guy who possesses my definition of unique. Jazzy, flavorful, melodic? Definitely. Yet, there’s a quality that is only Soul Ballet’s signature. Has it been the haunting, calling style of horns? The strings? The piano stylings? The synthesizer? The melodies themselves? Maybe. Maybe it’s even the David Gilmore/Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd fame) kind of feel for me in a tiny bit of the material. Well, Gilmore and Waters in their more lucid, reflective moments, maybe on the light side of the moon (not to take a single thing away from their darker, more complex sides either! Creativity takes on many shapes and sizes and it especially did during that era). Then there’s the club disco air in a couple of pieces, I guess. Done so freshly. Kelly does thrive on freshness.
I had no idea that Kelly’s professional associations and affiliations date back as far as the Don Kirchner’s Rock Concert days! Not to at all date this musical mastermind who still looks much younger than his years, I am, in fact, completely taken by his achievements and influences. The list of associations alone is inexhaustible and includes work with Herbie Hancock, Michael ("the Gloved One") Jackson, Robert ("Addicted to Love") Palmer, Earth, Wind & Fire, Madonna, Chicago, LL Cool J, Jaco Pastorius, Stevie Wonder, Stanley Clarke, Toto, Natalie Cole, the list just goes on and on. Now, he joins forces with Richard Elliot and longtime pal Rick Braun, signing on to their ARTizen Music Group label (man, those guys are picking up artists like a vacuum cleaner!!).
With the help of Braun and Elliot (did I say something about haunting, calling horns earlier??), Kelly is off and running with yet another smash (another uniquely Soul Ballet smash, I might add) sporting tunes like track 1, "glitters is gold," track 5, "da da Diamonds" and three typically deliciously Soul Ballet elongated tracks: the title track, track 6 "Tuscan Chica," and track 8 "Platinum Life," just to name a few. Due to be released in September, this one is well worth the wait. Signature Soul Ballet.