Since its inception, Defected Records has been pumping out hits like a jack in the box. After licensing some of the biggest names in the industry, a mix series that keeps getting better and better and a full-length artist album (Roger Sanchez), they embark on another—enter Junior Jack. Vito Lucente has been quite the busy boy this past year, having produced club smash, 'E-Samba,' which has been burning up dance floors across the country. No stranger to the scene, his first track release, 'My Feeling,' garnered some attention and recently has produced 'Make Luv,' a remake of Oliver Cheatham's hit 'Saturday Night' as his alter-ego, Room 5. His latest release, 'Da Hype,' features the vocals of Robert Smith, lead vocalist of '80s band, The Cure. After an exciting year, he drops his full-length album, simply titled, 'Trust.' This long player features 'Thrill Me' and 'Stupid Disco,' along with the aforementioned singles. For more information on Junior Jack and other Defected artists, visit their Web site at www.defected.co.uk
Louie Vega, one half of Masters At Work, releases his highly anticipated full-length album, 'Elements Of Life.' The concept of his album focuses on a collage of different sounds and languages, woven like the finest tapestry, rich in culture and historic like a classic novel. On this spiritual journey, he's selected an assortment of talent to bring forth his message of love and unity to the masses. The opening prelude of soft, spoken verse by Philly-born Ursula Rucker greets the listener with loving arms then segues into a remake of The Chakachas' classic, 'Jungle Fever.' Louie introduces us to new discovery, Raul Midon, who lends his vocal and guitar skills on 'Cerca De Mi' and 'A Better Day,' which is very reminiscent of Stevie Wonder meets Jose Feliciano.
House pioneers Blaze grace the album twice with their new single, 'Brand New Day' and the album titled classic, 'Elements Of Life.' Rounding out the album, he includes the sultry vocals of his wife, Anane, on 'Nos Vida' and 'Mon Amour.'
Louie Vega's Elements of Life will be in Chicago May 15 at Metro and is an all-building event. For more information, visit www.metrochicago.com .
One of my favorite labels, Hed Kandi, continues in their long-standing tradition of creating compilations for the mind, body, and feet to groove to. 'Winter Chill' is a collection of smooth, downtempo flavors to relax and ease your mind. Tracks featured include 'New Light Of Tomorrow' by Husky Rescue, 'The Same Deep Water As Me' by I Am Kloot, 'All Or Nothing' by Dirty Vegas and 'Lying Peacefully' by Pepe Deluxe.
'Hed Kandi 1 – World Series UK Mix' is a special 3-CD set, mixed by Mark Doyle, meshing together selected tracks from their past compilations and the biggest tunes in dance music into one incredible set. Over three hours of incredible dance music, each CD is broken down into its own genre, using the names of its successful CD series: Beach House, Disco Heaven and Twisted Disco. Tracks included here are 'Music and Wine' by Blue Six, 'Feelin' Love' by Soulsearcher, 'Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)' Spiller, 'Dancin'' by Erick Morillo, Harry Romero & Jose Nunez featuring Jessica Eve and 'Dreams' by Sandy Rivera.
Disco Heaven 01.04 continues in their long-standing tradition of providing quality vocal house selections both known and unknown that continue to heat up the dance floors. Tracks featured include 'Mad Love For Ya' by Deep Area, 'We Got Love' by Praise Cats featuring Andrea Love, an uplifting remake of the Whitney Houston classic, 'Love Will Save The Day' by Jaque and 'I Believe' by Sounds of Blackness. For more information on this compilation and others, visit their Web site: www.hedkandi.com .
Larry Levan – Greatest Salsoul Remixes (Salsoul UK)
One of the greatest DJs that ever lived and resident of Paradise Garage, Larry Levan remixed and re-edited many of the label's biggest dance tunes. This 2-CD set includes the following tracks, 'Aint No Mountain High Enough' by Inner Life, 'Double Cross' by First Choice and 'I Got My Mind Made Up' by Instant Funk.
Lisa Stansfield – Complete Collection (Arista) Import
Bursting onto the scene with 'All Around The World' in 1989, blue-eyed soul singer Lisa Stansfield has released a box collection of all five of her albums, including bonus tracks, remixes and b-sides. Included here are 'Change,' 'People Hold On,' 'All Woman,' 'Boyfriend' and a remake of the Barry White classic, 'Never Never Gonna Give You Up.'
Will Downing – Emotions (GRP)
The soft, smooth and sensual baritone whose career began in 1988 releases his eleventh studio album, including a certified hit with 'A Million Ways.' As his liner notes read, his inspiration for the album came from a conversation about music with George Daniels, who owns an independent record store here in Chicago. Tracks here include 'Rhythm Of U & Me,' 'Falling In Love' and a remake of the Aretha Franklin classic, 'Daydreaming.'
Marques Wyatt – Horizons (OM Records)
The first time I heard the name was while in Los Angeles hanging out with my friend/DJ Scott K, shopping at Beat Non-Stop for tunes and came across 'Sound Design vol.1.' I was so impressed at his choice selection for the mix that when OM records sent me his next release, 'For Those Who Like To Get Down,' I knew the title track was going to blow up and be in everyone's crate. Sure enough, it became a signature tune all over the world, showcasing his talent as an artist, writer and producer.
Marques' history all goes back to his pilgrimage to NYC in 1984, where in the city's underground clubs he heard music that he never knew existed. So began his mission to bring that moment, that feeling he had back home to the scene in Los Angeles. Having spun at venues that include Helena's, MAC's Garage and Brass, Marques soon made a name for himself and introduced groundbreaking artists like Digable Planets, Brand New Heavies and Jamiroquai to the scene. Presently, he has been running DEEP, an institution dedicated to the meshing of different people, a sanctuary of sound and good times and see the best in dance music.
'Horizons' encompasses the deep, soulfulness of gospel, jazz and poetry, as found in the spoken opening by OM artist, Omega (Afro-Mystik), segueing into the rejoicing calling of 'You Gotta Believe' by Intense and Voices of 6th Ave, which will have you waving your hands. Other highlights include the Latin flavors of Los Hermanos 'Quetzal,' Chicago's own Mark Grant 'Girl With U' and the amazing Kathy Brown explaining why she will 'Never Again' give her heart to just anyone. Defining this new album as 'a new day, a new hope experienced through the healing powers of music,' Marques Wyatt will certainly draw you into the DEEP experience, free your body, nurture your soul and elevate your mind.