Cite Soleil by

Patrick Charles is a young, energetic drummer/writer with a clear vision of the diverse workings of jazz/funk and other such pairings.

Cite Soleil is more than just a refreshingly unique “mover” in many distinctive ways, it’s also an attitude.  You get that from the beginning.  This young man is on a mission to make a bold statement. Charles collaborates nicely with Johnny Britt (who co-penned a couple of cuts, as well as contributes keys on the first track) on trumpet, Kevin Toney on piano and Rhodes, and Wayne Linsey ..s and Rhodes. Saxman Everette Harp and guitarist Freddie Fox also put in shining guest appearances.

There is actually quite a myriad of styles, melodies, tempos, and general feels to simply sit back and enjoy on this well-constructed album.  In my personal opinion, one of the coolest things about the album is the transition from track 5 to track 7.  All three tunes paint vastly different pictures, all vivid, yet very unique unto themselves. Not a necessarily unique technique, of course, but one has to hear these tunes to see what material is involved in this particular transition. Track 5, the title track , is a very island-flavored cut that just lazily, yet oh-so-melodically, sings and strolls along to track 6, Seal’s “Crazy,” where the tone and tempo pick up to a snappy guitar-rich stride.  This neatly takes us to a mid-tempo R&B-like groove, “Breathe,” featuring the artistry of Kevin Toney (it truly does have that Toney feel). Brilliant choice of tune placement. It just makes the transition such a natural and fluid one. As if to add icing to that cake, we get the smooth sax of Everette Harp on track 8’s “When the Love is Gone,” a tune custom-made for the hauntingly sweet and soulful alto sax of Harp.

Patrick Charles certainly does no harm whatsoever to his career here.  The young man would do well to use Cite Soleil as his barometer for future ventures.  A more trustworthy measuring tool may be hard to find.