CD reviews

CD REVIEW: Funimalayo Ngozi – Summer

Funimalayo Ngozi – Summer
(Self-Released on CDBaby. CD Review by Nick Davies)

Funimalayo Ngozi is a gospel artist originally from Atlanta, Georgia, and now living in Augusta. She describes herself on her website as a “Levite, coach, songstress, worshiper, teacher, student, an auntie, wife, friend, sister, and a follower of Christ the Lord”. Her debut album, Unconstrained, had a great reception from the critics, and her education work has come to the attention of the Grammy Foundation. She did some UK dates in 2015.

Ngozi returns with the EP Summer, covering every genre from neo-soul to R’n’B, pop and jazz. It features musical arrangements that reflect the beauty of the seasons, love and faith through instrumental arrangements and riveting riffs.

The first track, Summer, is contemporary yet soulful with subtle notes of jazz. Lyrically, it is sadly weak with a lounge feel. Ngozi’s vocal is strong, however it is affected by the composition and lyrics.

The risk of a disappointing opening continuing through the album is soon dispelled by a compelling second track: Interlude, featuring expansive drumming, soulful guitar and a superb vocal.

With Abide in Me Ngozi moves into more familiar territory, a great gospel offering and up there with some of the best. People often say that good gospel artists take their listeners to church and Ngozi certainly does this with Abide in Me. It’s a colourful tapestry of musicality, enriched with the beat that is driven by the saxophone. Outstanding and, in my opinion, far and away the best track on the EP.

The following tunes continue along a similar vein: strong vocals, beautifully delivered, accompanied by a tremendous, toe-tapping score. Unfortunately, a remix of Track 1’s Summer is the album’s final track and, despite being reworked, it remains lacking. A disappointing end but, thankfully, it does not weaken the overall offering.

LINK: Funimalayo Ngozi website

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