Stepz/Teresa Kenny

Stepz, Vol. 1 Featuring Teresa Kenny

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In the early '90s, besides doing their CD reissues, Motown also attempted to break new acts. But often they did so with little fanfare, as the efforts were destined to ricochet into the cutout bins. While at first glance this looked like a rap album, Stepz, Vol. 1 came from producer, writer, and arranger Stepz, who is teamed with vocalist Teresa Kenny. At first this does seem promising. Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis' names appear on the track "Hold Me So Tight." Upon closer inspection, it simply borrows the chorus from Thelma Houston's 1984 hit "You Used to Hold Me So Tight," produced by Jam and Lewis. The main problem here, curiously enough, is the range. Polished though faceless early-'90s R&B, house, and jazzy tracks rule the day here. While Kenny possesses a pleasing voice, it often doesn't seem simpatico with Stepz's various styles. Another overriding problem is that Stepz seems tentative at each genre attempted here. For a set like this, an almost stifling self-confidence is what is needed. The CD's last track, "You're Not the Only One," has a pleasant chorus and Kenny's finest vocal of the effort. The lack of a killer hook or great song doomed this album, and it's only recommended to producer/singer duo enthusiasts and Motown collectors.