"Flavor" is one of those somewhat ambiguous buzz words much like "organic" that critics seem to play fast and loose with instead of offering up a slightly more detailed explanation as to why "flavor" may be an apt description of an artist and or their work. In that spirit allow me to take a shot with Offiong Bassey and her latest self titled release.
Bassey creates her own harmonious mix of her Nigerian cultural heritage combined with more traditional soul, jazz, gospel and even Latin influences to carve out a personal harmonic nitch that is rich in color and deep in harmonic wonder. The spiritual side of Offiong Bassey extends to a personal experience through the creator's gift of a positive light that illuminates her vocal ability through impeccable phrasing and that special ability to move from singer to story teller that separates the good from the gifted as is the case with Bassey.
"Weatherman" is a well grounded presentation of Afro-jazz, contemporary soul and the lyrical power of spoken word poetry. Much like the weather, the changing harmonics and shifting melodic flow moves effortless if not at times unexpectedly from one genre to another transcending typical form and function of the more straight ahead singers of the day. "Chasing After The Wind" is another somewhat conceptual and highly personal tune that explores the materialism of society told through the Afro-pop groove that propels this gem forward. Also end on a high note and Bassey does just that with "Efik Praise Medley." This medley of song done in Bassey's native language of Efik and embraces the more traditional brass band concept known here in the United States punctuated by a pulsating beat and dynamic guitar solo which plays off the resulting energy to transcend genre, space and time.
Offiong Bassey shatter the barriers of language and preconceived notions of what people may assume is her wheelhouse and instead transforms her self titled release into an exploratory of contemporary soul with a global twist.
Incredibly entertaining, this vocal dynamo has a tremendous future and lays down a new release with massive cross over potential should some of the more traditional formats decide to make their play lists slightly more progressive than the commercially accepted norm that audiences are often force fed on a daily basis.
Tracks: Legitimate Child; Edidem; Weatherman; Full Moon; Mistaking Chivalry For Chauvinism; Conclusion; Chasing After The Wind; Owo Iba Me Ita; Wild Oats; It Might Be Hard; Efik Praise Medley.
Personnel: Offiong Bassey: vocals; Biethy Emmanuel Tiegon: keyboards, rhodes, drum programming and auxiliary instruments - bass guitar (1, 2,3,7), claps (1,12), backing vocals (6); Eniang Bassey: percussion (8); Cornell Coley; percussion (2,4,6,9,12); Victor Dogah: percussion (1); Remy Foussard: guitar (1,2,5); Derek Friesen: trumpet 96,8); Alexander Jerry: bass guitar (6,8); Erik Kramer: bass guitar (4,9); Hilary Noble: flute (2,4,10), tenor sax (6); Robert John O'Block: guitar (6,8); Dokun Oke: guitar (11); William Raymund: guitar (4,9); Nija Tiegon: backing vocals (9); Vessel: rap (5).