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A Moment In Time

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Album Review

Beres Hammond has had a long and consistent career in Jamaican music. Starting as the singer in the island's premier horn band, Zap Pow, Hammond began mixing elements of R&B, hip-hop, and dancehall into his patented lovers rock, and thanks to his easy and soulful vocal phrasing, not to mention his steady songwriting, he has crafted an approach that lifts him well above the constant shifting of Jamaican musical styles. Then there's that voice, which is sweet, worn, torn, ragged, and smooth by turns, and it's tempting to compare him to so many great singers like Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, or Al Green, he's that steady and consistent. Truthfully, no one in Jamaica sings love songs better than this man. For this set from VP Records, Hammond works familiar territory, delivering sweeping love songs that are joyous and wise, full of a refreshing and infectious optimism. Not dancehall (although he gets played there) so much as a kind of urban soul reggae, Hammond's songs are carefully crafted, arranged, and recorded, and whether individual tracks are produced by Donovan Germain, Natassia Hammond, Kemar "Flava" McGregor, or Hammond himself (all produced tracks for this album), they still fit together seamlessly. Clear highlights include the marvelous opener, "I Feel Good," the graceful and elegant "Picking Up the Pieces," and the majestic "Body & Soul," but everything here is solid. Hammond isn't flashy or provocative, but his steady and bright optimism is contagious and has the ring of wisdom, making A Moment in Time another fine album from one of Jamaica's finest singers. A bonus DVD featuring Hammond performing live at Jamaica Sunfest 2007, a lengthy on-camera interview, and the "I Feel Good" music video are also included in the package.

Biography

Born: 28 August 1955 in Annotto Bay, St. Mary, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most underappreciated reggae artists of his time, Beres Hammond was something of a throwback during his '90s heyday: a soulful crooner indebted to classic rocksteady and American R&B, one who preferred live instrumentation and wrote much of his own material. Hammond specialized in romantic lovers rock, but he also found time to delve into light dancehall, conscious roots reggae, hip-hop fusion, and straight-up contemporary R&B. He was born Hugh Beresford Hammond on August 28, 1955,...
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A Moment In Time, Beres Hammond
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