If a career working as a producer, song-writer, arranger, and session man for the likes of Albert King, the Memphis Horns, Wilson Pickett, Boz Skaggs, and Al Green (yep. Read that list again) amongst others isn’t enough for you, let’s add in works on multiple RIAA Certified Gold and Platinum albums, a highly coveted Memphis Blues Foundation ‘Blue Note’ Award, and music licensing to multiple films and TV shows (including ‘House’, ‘C.S.I.’, ‘JAG’, Ally McBeal’, ‘Pulp Fiction’, ‘Munich’, and ‘Mickey Blue Eyes’), and tutoring at the prestigious Berklee College Of Music. That’s one heck of a resume all in itself, except that now, as if by magic, Allen brings us ‘Just Like That’. A mix of Jazz-inspired motifs set over Hip Hop beats and breaks, with – of course – a huge Memphis-inspired feel.
We’ve got old-school TR-808 style electro beats and punching, hard-driven bass, sitting behind some chilled, grooving hip hop-styled vocals, a little funky syncopated guitar fill here and there, and a beautiful piano riff that reprises the Mission Impossible ‘tension’ music, hinting but never quite being a straight lift. The drums and guitar build through the track, until we get proper Stax-style horn fills, a little sax riff here, a clarinet there, building up the track until…too soon…and it’s over. It’s a killer track, all smooth-groove, funky without being over-the-top in that laid-back Al Green/Marvin Gaye kind of way, with a definite jazzy feel but a hugely modern vibe from the beautifully sung, soulful vocal and those Hip-Hop beats. It’s quite simply excellent.
Review by Alex Holmes