Vincent Ingala - North End Soul

On this planned Friday night off, I had arranged to see a young new smooth jazz artist, Vincent Ingala.  Another one of the new crop of smooth jazz artists from Connecticut, who seem to have captured the pulse of this genre of music.

Vincent first came to my attention via my friend Rich Edwards Smooth Grooves Show on Gloucester FM earlier this year.  The buzz was out on the jazz funk of "It Is What It Is" from his "North End Soul" self produced CD..... did I mention he plays all the instruments AND is only 17 years old!

"North End Soul" contains many unexpected gems that reveal much more about the musical knowledge of this youngster.  Vincent stays within the soft smooth jazz realm with his opening tracks "Vintage Vibe" and "Free To Groove" and continues the groove with "Midnight Pass".  These tracks fit nicely into today's smooth jazz radio programming and would work well during Cocktail Hour and Dinner at a wedding reception.

For an artist's first solo project, I was very impressed with the quality of the production and the compositions selected.  At only 17, there is huge potential here.

In fact, Vincent composed all the tracks on this CD, except for the three remakes, Junior Walkers "What Does It Take" (Vinny handles vocals on this), The Moments "Look At Me" and my favorite MFSB "K-Jee".  As a DJ from this era, these titles seemed curiously, selected for someone who wasn't even born when these tracks where already considered classics. 

Which is why on this Friday night we ventured north to Holyoke, Massachusetts to the WEIB 106.3 FM "Cool, Smooth & Soulful After Work Cool Down" event featuring Vincent Ingala.

The evening started in a smooth jazz vein with tracks from Vincent's CD "Look At Me", "Vintage Vibe", "Lost In You", "Free To Groove" & ""Midnight Pass".  Once "It Is What It Is" came on the dance floor was packed and stayed that way for the rest of the evening.  Vincent seemed to be in his element switching between his saxophone, guitar and keyboard.  His uplifting blend played more to the audience with his rhythmic jazz take on some classic Soul and R&B tunes:
  • Just My Imagination
  • Working My Way Back To You
  • Come See About Me
  • Let's Stay Together
  • I Don't Love You Anymore
  • More, More, More
  • Ladies Night
Another firm favorite of mine, the classic Average White Band's "Let's Go Round Again" brought everyone to their feet, singing along with the chorus.  So did the Wild Cherry/BT Express/Maceo medley - funky to say the least!  Northern Soul fans would've appreciated the Spiral Staircase "More Than Yesterday" and the Reflections "Just Like Romeo & Juliet" (for the record I did not attempt a back drop, spin or splits!).

Vincent moved around the stage and into the crowd, like he owned the night, with a presentation and performance of an artist well beyond his years.  For an encore, Vincent came back with a rollicking live version of "K-Jee" that would've made Vince Montana Jr., Earl Young and Norman Harris proud.

I had a chance to speak with Vincent and his wonderful parents Leo & Dawn and realized just where he obtained his musical knowledge of Jazz, Classic Soul & R&B.  His Dad, Leo, was a DJ in the Waterbury, Connecticut area, who played many of these classic songs and instilled his love of music.  This was evident when Vincent mentioned one of his favorite songs was Hamilton Bohannon's "Let's Start The Dance".... we hope to hear this on a follow-up CD!

You can purchase Vincent Ingala's nine track CD "North End Soul" on CD Baby or better still go see him live so you can catch a rising star.

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Sylvester Samuels
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