The Phat Cat Players

Make It Phat, Baby!

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    6
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A wide-ranging collection of live grooves and soulful R&B jams, Make It Phat, Baby! reprises the classic soul of Barry White and Marvin Gaye with just a few well-placed concessions to contemporary hip-hop. It's an upfront recording, featuring an excellent seven-piece band plus plenty of features for the half-dozen vocalists on tap. There's a surprisingly wide range of productions here, from the slinky spoken-word love song "Sundress" (featuring Coco Brown) to the reminiscence tune "Those Days" to an instrumental feature for violinist Mark Russell on "Ain't No Sunshine." The songs are great and the performances are even better, but what really makes Make It Phat, Baby! such an excellent work is the recording and production -- clean, crisp, and groovy, with plenty of room for instrumentalists like keyboard players Andrew Lane and Darius "Doc D" Baker or guitarists Norris Jones and Rick Watford.

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