Concocting 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.