"What’s old is new again." It’s an expression we’ve all heard. In simple terms, it means the good stuff is timeless, and it will always survive and eventually resurface, no matter how many years go by or how much clutter might get in the way.
Bassist Gerald Veasley knows. He grew up with the good stuff – the seminal urban grooves of the ‘70s that served as the backdrop to his creative awakening. "That was a time when I was kind of coming into my own as a musician, starting to really take music seriously, and there were all these great sounds around," he recalls. "Music right about that time was starting to get very, very funky, and people were taking a lot of chances. There weren’t a lot of constraints in radio."
Heads Up International announces the worldwide 5.1 SACD Hybrid release of Velvet (HUSA 9072), Veasley’s richly textured new recording that evokes the sound and spirit of those formative years when innovators like Sly & the Family Stone, Earth Wind and Fire and George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic turned the traditions of R&B and soul on their head and redefined the urban sound.
Combine these potent ingredients from decades past with the sounds and sensibilities of contemporary urban music, process them through Veasley’s musically rich Philadelphia upbringing, and the result is a unique instrumental perspective on the burgeoning movement that is now called neo-soul.
With Velvet, his sixth solo effort on Heads Up, Veasley maintains an unmistakably progressive sensibility with the help of some of today’s brightest ascending stars.
Among the young luminaries are fellow Philadelphian Jaguar Wright, who provides some sexually charged lead and backing vocals on the stirring Curtis Mayfield cover, "Let’s Do It Again," and John Stephens, who also lends his pipes to the same track, as well as the gently rhythmic ballad "Summer Kiss."
Other guests include vocalists Mikki Kornegay and Warren Cooper, who both step up to the mic on the sensual "It’s Alright." Guitarist Randy Bowland adds layers of texture to "Let’s Do It Again," "Velvet" and the heartfelt "Home," while Hammond organists Benji Porecki ("Bread Puddin’" and "Forever") and Michael Aharon ("Do You Remember") bring the shimmer that’s such a vital component of the urban sound – regardless of what decade it comes from.
And then there’s Veasley’s usual crew, each with a star power all his own: Chris Farr, who handles tenor and soprano sax; Will Brock and Mark Knox on keyboards; and co-producer Richard Waller III on drums and percussion.
Helping Veasley hold it all together on the two neo-soul vocal tracks is producer Herb Middleton, whose credits include work with Will Smith, Al Green, Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans and Kenny Lattimore.
Veasley’s latest effort is a place where old school meets new school. Drop this one into the changer and hear the best of both worlds – the classic as well as the contemporary.
Dig the feel of Velvet.