In the same vein that Amel Laurrieux launched her solo career after Groove Theory, so has Nicole Willis. Willis' voice is sultry and smooth with an obvious touch of old wave funk. It's no wonder acts like Leftfield have found her perfect for doing vocal work with their electronic backdrop. With her debut solo album, Soul Makeover, Willis sets herself apart from her younger days known as "Buba Diva," and shows that she has the potential to simply be the latter of the two words. Her husband, recognized producer Jimi Tenor, helped produce the album and makes his presence known by his stamp of clean and well put together jazz instrumentals matched with electronic elements.
This collection on the U.K.'s Soul Brother imprint is a very compelling look at a big slice of Freddie Hubbard's long career as a leader, and one that gets ignored for the most part. Hubbard recorded over 20 records between Backlash, his Atlantic debut in 1966, and Ride Like the Wind for Elektra in 1982, with lengthy stops at Columbia and CTI (as well some straight hard bop and post-bop outings for labels Fantasy and Pablo). In many cases, some of these original recordings were not only disregarded by more traditional jazzheads, they were regarded with outright hostility. It didn't matter to Hubbard, however, because at the time, these were among his best-selling albums and connected with the public deeply.