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Accent

Sugar - Single (2015)

4.0

Review By Michael Marcus

March 26, 2015

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If Take 6 covered Maroon 5, it would probably sound like Accent's fun, jazzy take on Sugar

These six guys from five (!) countries across North America and Europe aren't kidding around where musical chops are concerned. There's quite a bit going on in Simon Åkesson's clever arrangement, with its many intricate harmonies and crazy rhythms, yet the singers make it all sound so effortless and cool. Danny Fong and Jean-Baptiste Craipeau alternate lead duties on the verses and choruses respectively, and it's a smart choice; the contrast between Fong's sultry tessitura and Craipeau's killer falsetto is striking and helps drive the song forward despite a lack of vp.

So why not a "5"? Around the 1:50 mark things start to get weird (and not in the good way one usually associates with jazz). The song switches abruptly to an "old timey" swing feel for no apparent reason just before the second chorus, then immediately back, and it completely kills the groove. Evan Sanders is a very talented bass with a range to die for, but his one-note solo in the bridge (literally and figuratively) sticks out against the more soulful leads from his groupmates. And the ending is just too abrupt; the song just stops on the way into another repeat of the chorus, instead of finishing strong on a luscious final chord.

Ultimately this track feels less like a cohesive whole and more like a sampler of the group's talents — but boy, what a collection of talents. Minor quibbles aside, Accent just might be my new favorite vocal jazz group.

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