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"Morning": Amel Larrieux
By Mike Heyliger
To this day, Amel Larrieux is still best known
as the lead singer of mid-90's duo Groove
Theory. That outfit scored it's biggest hit with
'95's "Tell Me". After Groove Theory split a year
or two later, Larrieux has been under the
commercial radar, although she's released
several stellar solo albums, ncluding "Infinite
Possibilities" and "Bravebird". Her third solo
outing, "Morning", continues Amel's tradition of positive, uplifting, and
well-performed music.

Almost entirely written and produced by Amel and her husband Laru
Larrieux, "Morning" combines Amel's smoky vocal style with various
musical genres including jazz, pop and soul. The beats hit hard, a
remnant from the Groove Theory days when the bass pumped even
when the melodies were sweet. It's definitely not a record made for
commercial R&B radio, but then again, if it were made for commercial
radio, it probably wouldn't be as good!

Highlights include the primarily acoustic, ruminative title track, as well
as the playful, girlish "Trouble". This track finds Amel firmly in an
Al-Jarreau type jazz bag. Her scat singing at the end is marvelous."No
One Else" is a devotion-themed piano ballad, while "Weary" is an airy
meditation on the fight against loneliness and the search for love.
Although she's happily married, one senses that Amel has definitely
lived through the uncertainty she sings about.

Amel's voice occasionally suggests Sade, and her music has the same
calming, relaxing effect, but with a bit more edge. Her eclectic nature
doesn't overshadow her personality, and "Morning" turns out to be
yet another delight from an artist who has turned out to build a quite
impressive resume as a solo artist.

Check out Amel's website at: