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Beautiful Soul

Cynthia Layne

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Album Review

Listeners who discovered Cynthia Layne with her September 2007 release Beautiful Soul might have assumed she was a newcomer, but in fact, she has been singing professionally since the early '90s — and in Indianapolis, IN (where she is based), Layne has earned a reputation for being a diverse vocalist who can handle anything from straight-ahead jazz and Tin Pan Alley standards to blues to classic soul. But on Beautiful Soul, the Midwesterner generally favors a neo-soul approach along the lines of Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, and N'Dea Davenport — and it is a direction that works really well for her. None of the material on this 69-minute CD is straight-ahead jazz or bop, but medium-tempo offerings like "Kings and Queens," "Be You," "Mystery," and "Pimp Talk" definitely have the type of jazz overtones that Badu, Scott, and Davenport are known for bringing to their R&B foundation. At times, Beautiful Soul steps outside of neo-soul; "Free Yourself" is straight-up '70s-style funk, and "Two and One" and "Will You Be There" are sleek, uptempo, club-friendly offerings that favor the soul-minded side of house music. But while those tracks and the ballad "I Can't Change You" add a fair amount of diversity to the album, neo-soul is Beautiful Soul's primary direction. Bottom line: anyone who has spent a lot of time savoring the neo-soul of Scott, Badu, Davenport (either her solo output or her work with the Brand New Heavies), Macy Gray, or Corinne Bailey Rae will also find a lot to savor on the excellent Beautiful Soul.

Top Albums and Songs by Cynthia Layne

Beautiful Soul, Cynthia Layne
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: R&B/Soul, Music
  • Released: 25 September 2007

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