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Lavish

Soul Ballet

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Album Review

If producer/ composer Rick Kelly had decided to release Lavish under his own name instead of under the name Soul Ballet, it certainly would have been justified. Kelly is Soul Ballet, pure and simple. Soul Ballet has never been a group but rather, is Kelly's project and has always reflected his smooth jazz-meets-electronica vision — and Lavish, like previous Soul Ballet discs, ends up being more electronica than smooth jazz, which is probably for the best because Kelly has avoided recording the type of outright schlock that is so common in the radio-driven smooth jazz/NAC field. True, Soul Ballet has enjoyed airplay on smooth jazz/NAC stations, but Lavish — although not terribly challenging — still has more integrity than the type of saccharine elevator music that the Kenny G/Dave Koz/Richard Elliot/Najee crowd has been famous (or rather, infamous) for. More than anything, Lavish is instrumental club music — specifically, Kelly favors the softer side of electronica, and Soul Ballet has a lot of chillout and downtempo appeal. Some types of electronica can be harsh and abrasive — techno, for example, can be every bit as in-your-face as death metal, punk, or gangsta rap — but chillout and downtempo (both of which are radically different from techno) have epitomized the kinder, gentler side of clubland electronica, and that is definitely where Kelly is coming from on Soul Ballet's lush grooves. Although Lavish has jazz overtones, it should not be judged by jazz standards because it isn't trying to be jazz in the true sense. This 2007 release is not soloist-driven or improvisation-driven; it is producer-driven and beat-driven, which is what one usually expects from clubland electronica. Lavish doesn't break any new ground for Kelly; there are no compelling reasons why anyone who already owns a few Soul Ballet CDs absolutely has to purchase this one as well. But it's a pleasant, if predictable, example of Kelly's mildly jazzy view of electronic club music.

Customer Reviews

ABYSSJazz Magazine

Welcome to the family Soul Ballet, aka Rick Kelly. I am really diggin’ your style. After checking out Lavish, I am sold on that electronica with a smooth grooved out jazz flavor. Kelly has it going on. What gets me about this disc is its millennium modern approach to music, while maintaining that ever-so-sexy chill factor. It’s a very cool concept and I’m sure a crowd pleaser for the progressive after work single mingle hour. Lavish is necessary to this genre of music because it has an edge that appeals to a younger, more sophisticated and sassier audience. Kick back and lavish on this electronic club, nu jazz sensation. You just can’t resist.

Man, what took you so long.

This is the kind of music we have been waiting for a long time. Anytime someone can take three different genres of music, splice them like a scientist splicing cells, and create one genre of his own, you get three groups of listeners merged into one group which makes him dangerous. Keep creating because your style is yet to be perfected.

Biography

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Masterminded by producer, arranger, programmer, and multi-instrumentalist Rick "R.K." Kelly, Soul Ballet mixes cool, smooth contemporary jazz with pulsating electronic beats and a surprisingly dark, moody atmosphere. Kelly is occasionally joined by a live rhythm section, as well as a series of guest vocalists (whose ranks have included Stefani, Annika, and Billy Valentine), but for the most part,...
Full Bio
Lavish, Soul Ballet
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Customer Ratings

Contemporaries

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