Thursday, Jul 01 2004 | 12:56

After the critically acclaimed release of soul songstress Nicole Willis’ first solo album “Soul Makeover” in 2000, a production manned by Maurice Fulton, Jimi Tenor and herself, Sähkö Recordings presents “BE IT” in summer 2004.

The new LP depicts a more laid back style with plenty of instrumentation, but not straying too far away from the conglomeration of soul-based/electronic bee-in-bonnet production flavors of “Soul Makeover”.

Nicole Willis opens the playing field to star-novice producer, Milk n 2 Sugars recording artist, Veikka Erkola, with tracks “Say It”, “Something Doesn’t Fit” and “Though U Tried”. Mr. Erkola chooses Finland’s neo-jazz trumpeter Jukka Eskola for horn arrangements on the track “Though U Tried” performing also flugelhorn with trombonist Jay Kortehisto (Jimi Tenor Big Band, Nuspirit Helsinki). He teams his productions with guitar- and bassmen Aki Haarala and Niilo Ryti of Dorado’s Quintessense. Also enlisted after Nicole’s feature on their debut LP (“Honest”, Nuspirit Helsinki, released in 2002 on Guidance), are the broken beats/dj-producers of Nuspirit Helsinki, Tuomas Kallio and Kim Rantala on the track “We Won’t Miss a Thing”. The track “Just the Way” sprung from a jam session with Jimi Tenor band guitarists Chris Dawkins and Ilkka Mattila. Hard hitter “Reassurance” was conceived by production team Cornerstone aka Chris Dawkins and Tim Atack from the UK. The horn arrangements come courtesy by “Mr. Nicole Willis”, Jimi Tenor, who frequently appears throughout the album playing Rhodes, sax & flute. The LP also includes (produced and composed by the couple) roller skate jam “Sunday Night” and “Didn’t Feel No Pain”, perhaps much more in character to their shared influences. Ms. Willis plays again a bit of guitar, synths and of course composed lyrics and music of all tracks.

The recording of “Be It” took place at a variety of locations, primarily at the home studio of Jimi Tenor while based in London, Copito de Nieve, which has moved many times in the past few years. However recording began in London soon after the release of “Soul Makeover”. It continued at Veikka Erkola’s residence in Helsinki, in the studio of Nuspirit Helsinki and was completed in 2003 in Barcelona, the original place of Copito de Nieve.

Lush, soulful melodies and experimentations in jazzy sounds without ever becoming pretentious or self-indulgent. Gorgeous, warm and seductive!
Much like the lady herself!

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