Tuesday , February 27 2024
Singer and guitarist crosses genre boundaries to offer a pleasing set of feel-good, socially-conscious compositions.

Music Review: Tomas Doncker – ‘Small World Part 1 (Deluxe Edition)’

Tomas DonckerConcocting a flavorful blend of soul, Latin, rock, and jazz spice, Brooklyn native Tomas Doncker exhibits impressive skill and charisma on his third CD, Small World Part 1. The sublime guitar strains of the title track play truthfully into the hopeful, yet concerned lyrics. “The world inside my head is not outside my window,” the singer/guitarist begins.

His sentiment that we “need to put this fire out and stop our global village burning” is echoed with action in several tunes. Aided by the eloquent spoken word of Caitlin Meissner, “Children of Darfur,” for one, probes the ongoing human rights crimes and inequities plaguing the Sudanese region.

The mood, though, is not all heavy. Soaking in the pleasures of intimate time with his lady, Doncker coos, “Not tryin’ to see the future/Much more interested in what’s behind” on “License for Love.” Within this context, Dayna Hollins woos with celestial background tones against an euphoric backdrop of soft, Brasilian-flavored percussion and entrancing keyboards. Meanwhile, the funk is in full effect—peppered with a dash of rock and blues elements—on the robust “Please Me.”
Although Small World can’t be pegged stylistically by any one song, perhaps the single, “Lucky Day,” is most exemplary of the moods and genres encompassed. The words are optimistic, while the musical arrangement gracefully weaves between pensively melodic and refreshingly rhythmic. The song’s got a perfect chill-out vibe, but you can easily get your groove on to it when inspired. Throughout the CD, Doncker’s slightly raspy, yet simultaneously smooth voice engages with carefully devised phrasing that is at once inviting and seductive. It’s an ideal method of delivery for such vibrant material.

“Lucky Day” – Tomás Doncker (Official Music Video) from Tomas Doncker on Vimeo.

About Justin Kantor

Justin Kantor is a music journalist with a passion for in-depth artist interviews and reviews. Most of his interviews for Blogcritics can be heard on his Blog Talk Radio program, "Rhythmic Talk." Justin's work has been published in Wax Poetics, The All-Music Guide, and SoulMusic.com. A graduate of Berklee College of Music's Music Business and Management program, he honed his writing chops as a teenager—publishing "The Hip Key" magazine from 1992-1996. The publication, which was created out of his childhood home in Virginia Beach, reached a circulation of 10,000 by the time he was 16. At Berklee, Justin continued to perfect his craft with a series of 'Underrated Soul' features for The Groove from 1997-2003. This led to a companion TV show on Manhattan Neighborhood Network in 2002, as well as writing for the national Dance Music Authority (DMA). A self-described "obscure pop, dance, and R&B junkie," Justin also has penned liner notes for reissue labels such as Edsel Records and FunkyTownGrooves. He's excited to be a part of the BlogCritics team and indulge his musical fancies even further. Connect with him at his Facebook page, or via [email protected].

Check Also

Jordi Savall (second from left) and members of Orient Lux (photo credit: Philippe Matsas)

Music Review: Orpheus 21 – ‘Oriente Lux (Dialogue of Souls)’ with Jordi Savall and Hespèrion XXI

A concert recording of music from countries far and wide, from Syria to Afghanistan, Israel to Greece, Morocco to Iraq, pays tribute to the victims of the war in Syria.