Urbane and sophisticated, Emilio Palame Band's "Be Who You Are" CD is a smart collection of contemporary R&B trading funk grooves with interludes of traditional jazz piano spread over 23 tracks of pure musicality. Boasting influences that range from the lyricism of Billy Strayhorn to the dynamism of Earth, Wind & Fire; "Be Who You Are" is a throwback to an era when musical prowess trumped the constraints of genres and target audiences. On "Runaway" the Palame band invokes a subtle Latin vibe that recalls Chicago (the group), while the brilliant pianism on "Emily's Dancing Eyes" is but a backdrop to an R&B workout showcasing the bands elastic and nuanced dexterity. Where "Piano Prelude to We Are Love" finds pianist Palame beautifully exploring the richness of Bill Evans-like jazz piano, the electric keys of the full-band version of "We Are Love" swing it in a Stevie Wonder-like direction that smoothly melds the background chorus in grand harmonic convergence. The charged and dynamic "New Day" gives this amazing band a chance to flex its considerable muscle revealing, if nothing else, how the 1-2 punch of great charts in the hands of polished musicians can unlock the oft-hidden depths a song contains. But whether it's straight-up funk, '70's-grounded R&B, or the classically melodic jazz at the heart of Emilio Palame's artistry, "Be Who You Are" is a CD that succeeds because it pays tribute to its influences by invigorating the artistry that fueled them.
-Rice B. and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
Check out Emilio Palame Band's music on RadioIndy.com with link to purchase and links to popular sites