Lakecia Benjamin


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Saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin recorded Retox to honor her inspirations, a veritable roll call of soul and R&B greats. It has all the ingredients: plenty of funk, a powerful horn section, and some guest singers and rappers. Some of the material by Benjamin is excellent, ranging from floor-shaking power pop to old-school slow jams ("My Love"). But ultimately, there seems to be a lack of passion on the disc. The playing is all there, but there's not a great deal of Benjamin's playing, and where she does come to the fore it sounds too controlled and contained. She doesn't help make her case for passion by including a sugary, easy listening version of Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry ‘Bout a Thing." Musically, it's one of Wonder's breeziest songs, but in Benjamin's cover, it's so lightweight it could fly away. There's talent here, and some very capable writing, so perhaps the next release will convince.

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