A Little Space

A Space of My Own

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A Little Space, the multifaceted soul-jazz-funk musical brainchild of bassist and multi-instrumentalist Big Al, is the kind of independent-minded project all musicians and songwriters would aim for if they dared -- and if they weren't so concerned with conforming to just one format or another. A bright blend of several up-tempo funk-jazz instrumentals and ten soulful vocal tracks sung by L.A.-based R&B/gospel singer Regi Perry, A Space of My Own indeed lives up to its ambitious title by being unlike any other album you've ever heard. In the midst of lighthearted mid-tempo funk on the opening track, "All in Your Mind," Big Al chimes in with a rockin' Fender Stratocaster guitar solo straight out of his upbringing in Detroit. Best capturing the wide range of styles are "As Long as You're Able" -- a snazzy bossa nova all the way -- and "Meant to Be" (featuring tenor saxman Ralph Q. Brown), a sultry, easy-grooving R&B vocal. As dazzling as the musical array is, Big Al also works up provocative lyrics, tackling sometimes unusual themes like teaching children the wonders of science ("Wonder of Things") and being a charitable person (the moody, old-school, and gospel-flavored "Top of the World"). Considering the strength of the instrumental tracks, it would be wise for Big Al to offer a greater balance of these on future projects; melodic, easy funk fare like "See the Sun" is balanced intriguingly by the thoughtful MIDI piano and cello-driven chamber pop of "One Day Old."

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