Detroit’s venerable house hero Kenny “Moodymann” Dixon, Jr., returns with his fifth long player to date, and it’s what we’ve come to expect from the enigmatic artist: Sensuous, emotive, and deep soul of the highest order.
Moodymann’s brand of house practically birthed a subgenre of dance music. Dirty loops of old disco, soul, and funk form the basis of much of his work, with live instrument arrangements courtesy of Motor City players such as singer/keyboardist Amp Fiddler, bassist Paul Randolph, and sax maven Norma Jean Bell. Mr. Fiddler also pops up on “I’m Doing Fine,” a rich, jazz-informed R&B number that beckons comparisons with the late, great Donny Hathaway.
As was the case with Moodymann’s earlier albums, much of the Mahoganimaterial has appeared on previously released twelve-inch singles. He may well be the most collectible house music producer, period, as dozens of eBay auctions of his work will attest. “Shades of Jae,” for example, is a classic dance cut that has fetched well over a Benjamin, hypnotizing clubbers since its initial EP release in 1999 with Motown crooning and an euphoric Fender Rhodes hook that veers in and out throughout the duration of the song. The track also serves as a fitting metaphor for a career that has found Moodymann releasing several different takes and remixes, happily confounding his fans in the process. — Roy Dank
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