Chante Moore is one of those bay area natives whose music I came to far later than my actual knowledge of her existence. A lot of female soul/R&B vocalists in the early 90’s were coming into the genre from the world of hip-hop. Moore came into it with a jazz back round. And her earlier albums especially had that mid to low tempo urban contemporary production close that looked to zero in on her multi octave vocal range. Have those early albums in my collection. On the other hand I never thought of her as a huge instrumental oriented artist. It was a bit more recently when that perception was challenged by digging a little deeper into her latest musical output.
One day while at the local record haunt Bullmoose I located a pre owned CD copy of Moore’s 2008 album Love The Woman. It had been on my interests list for a long time but never bothered to pick it up. This was during a period when my conversations with Henrique Hopkins were bringing me a far broader understanding of what an artists musical ability can do with programmable electronic instruments. It was really widening my understanding of modern grooves during the early days of doing this very blog. There was one song I wanted to write about from this album since those early days. It’s the album opener entitled “Can’t Do It”.
A powerful horn fan fare opens the album-backed up with implied percussion. Suddenly a strong funky beat chimes in. And the percussion gets turned back up in the mix on every other chorus. On each musical refrain,a quick and huge burst of horn maintains the one in the rhythm. Towards the end of the song,there’s a digital bell that suddenly adds itself to the percussion. That along with a harmonic string synthesizer part coming up from behind the groove. Every time the horn blasts come in and out of the refrains,the rest of the percussion and beat disappears from the mix to give those horns the room for audible flight. And it’s with those horns that the song comes to a stop in the end.
Instrumental programmer Warryn Campbell does a wonderful job setting up the groove on this song. It sounds as if he is actually playing live drums,percussion and recording horns for this song. But that,in the manner Henrique recently mentioned to me, he cuts them up sample style in the mix. The thing here is that he does so very much in the flowing style of a live band playing. Moore’s usually scaling ranginess is subdued here in favor of her using her lower voice. And she does so in a rhythmic element similar to the way Beyonce often utilizes her vocals in a percussive style. In the end this is one of the finest examples of nu funk from the first decade of the 21st century.