J-Life's debut album Tomorrow's Warriors
won them two Perrier Jazz awards. One of these was for the vocals of Julie Dexter, a young singer who obviously owes much of her style to Abbey Lincoln. This is probably why two of the covers featured include Lincoln's composition "The Music Is Magic" and "Afro-Blue", on which Lincoln was the first to put vocals. If Dexter hasn't quite got Lincoln's passion quite yet (reference should be made to the original "Afro-Blue" on the album Abbey Is Blue
) then that is not to say that Dexter does not have a sweet soulful voice. Throughout the album her vocals stand out, especially so on a wonderfully sparse rendition of "Baubles, Bangles & Beads", which has only Darren Taylor's double bass as backing. The sound is generally redolent of midnight jazz, with the occasional improvised solo and a touch of funk, but always with a polished execution. This is British jazz that suggests much more is to come. --Phil Brett
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