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"N'Dian Summer" 

Composers/Producers: Tyrone Steele, Garland Thomas 
Lyricist/Vocalist: Garland Thomas 

Classic soul influences come together in this D'Nas production. A sign of the times perhaps, as true soul once again sweeps the urban landscape with artists like Brian McKnight, Maxwell, and D'Angelo leading the charge at the national level. It's nice to hear soul again. 

D'Nas does a nice job of incorporating the thump of contemporary urban production elements and classic soul structure, working in the growing popular style called neo-soul or contemporary R&B. Neo-soul today contains the earthier elements that made songs by the Main Ingredient, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder so great in their day. Nearly ridding itself of the slick, almost mechanical nature of the urban contemporary sound of the eighties and nineties, it is nice to hear those influences used today by indie urban artists. 

There is a significant difference between the soul of the seventies and the urban contemporary music of the eighties and nineties. One wanted simple, graphic, violent, and nearly pornographic intercourse. The other wanted subtle, sensitive, intimate, understanding and love making. One was for the street, the other for candlelight, wine and romance. There in lies the secret expressed in D'Nas Production's N'Dian Summer. 

Nicely performed, co-writers Tyrone Steele and Garland Thomas incorporate muted trumpet and strings to set the romantic mood, while block chords on the piano help to establish the underlying groove that makes hips and pelvic areas grind slowly to the point of sexual tension. Tyrone Steele's music has a touch of the classic "quiet storm" format, a soulful sound that touches on jazz influenced counter melodies and solid chord structures. Garland himself works loosely in the style, at times affecting a Stevie Wonder element in his vocal intonations while establishing the story line in much the same way that Luther Vandross or Teddy Pendergrass did. 

No doubt that Mr. Thomas spent much of his life listening to Babyface and other urban artists of the past twenty years, although it is equally as obvious that he has spent some time listening carefully to the male vocalists of the seventies. He works deliberately at the delivery and melodies of a sound that hasn't been heard much on mainstream urban radio in the more modern era. N'Dian Summer fits better with the past in that way. 

This is old school soul, not intended for those who prefer their music hard and violent … this is music designed for romance and not for simple f***ng. Good job D'Nas. 

Chris K.

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