Song of Solomon
Since his 1990 debut, Ben Tankard has been synonymous with smooth, light, keyboards-based Gospel jazz.I’ve been planning all my life
On his most recent in a long string of releases, Tankard continues with his trademarked flairs, this time stamping a ‘romantic love songs’ theme to his project. Titled Song of Solomon, and taking an obvious cue from the Old Testament love poetry, this is a twelve-track project that celebrates the horizontal, matrimonial relationship.
The title track is a fine example of the style that Tankard excels at. Straight forward melodies played out on one hand on keyboard, with plenty of surrounding space and a shuffling rhythm track. It makes for a vibe inducive to meditation, reflection and introspection.
Stevie Wonder’s “Ribbon In The Sky” is a perennial request at weddings, so Tankard’s interpretation here will be welcomed.
So will several other cuts that would fit nicely into wedding ceremonies, such as “Smile 4 Me” with Diane Palmer on vocals:
For this ceremony with you...
I’ve been longing all my life
To share my dreams with you
I’ve been planning all my life
For this matrimony
from "Smile 4 Me"
On “Special One”, Tankard flips the script a bit, appropriately turning the focus to the veritcal relationship that God desires to have with us. Cassandra Robinson takes the mic and tells of how God is our constant companion, our healer, our special someone who satisfies the longing that we have in our souls for companionship, even beyond a mate. The track is unique on the project, in that several psalmist friends contribute, including Tyrone Dickerson joining on keys with Tankard, and also Josh Merritt on drums, Quinn Anderson on bass as well as contributions from Tankard’s frequent guitar sidekick, Michael Ripoll.
Other cuts (“Shi-ly-ku”, “Thou Art Fair”, “Always On My Mind”) are dedicated to Tankard’s wife and project collaborator, Jewel, who herself adds narration to the “New Start” interlude. It’s also a family affair on “Allaboutluv”, with Tankard bringing in his sister Patrice to lend a hand on writing and instrumentation.
Tankard uses his well-known production expertise to full effect on the album, creating an uncluttered, smooth feel from beginning to end. Perfect for those time when the subject at hand is your true love, and that laid back chill vibe is the order of the day.
Producer: Ben Tankard
album release date: July 10, 2001
reviewed by Stan North —
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