On his new album Keep Walkin, London-based Colonel Red decided to make a departure from the electronic production of his earlier albums and turn back to his musical roots. But don’t worry; his sound is still the same on his third album, just more analog. As on his 2005 debut Blue Eye Blak, you can still hear traces of broken beat through his modern take on jazz, soul, funk and fusion. He is backed by organic horns, subtle guitar, deep bass lines and jazzy keyboard melodies that provide an intimate atmosphere for the whole album. Colonel Red’s flexible voice goes from whispering, underscoring and soaring high above the rhythm section. He has worked with and written for such artists as Amp Fidler, Shara Nelson, IG Culture, Bugz in the Attic, Ursula Rucker, Tony Allen, Dwight Trible, The Last Poets, Brian Jackson and the list goes on.
The album opens with a jazzy live-sounding intro on “I’m Colonel Red”, before venturing into “Free Feeling”. It plays like a vintage Erykah Badu track with D’Angelo-style vocals, but it still carry his own signature and is backed by thick delayed hip hop drums. “I Will Be There” is a beautiful down-tempo soul track driven by a simple bass line, acoustic guitar, mellow sax and sparse drums. His voice has such a beautiful tone and perfect technique. “Drivng Me Crazy” follows; an up-tempo soul number with velvet harmonies. “Systematic Mathamatik” is an atmospheric track with a complex structure and rhythms, giving it a futuristic and free flavor. “Gimme A Minute” features Ursula Rucker, and consequently brings some good 4hero vibes, but in a beautiful and good way, not some late 90’s post-chill flashback. “Keep Walkin” continues in the same vein; this is how a jam between Omar, D’Angelo, Bugz In The Attic and 4hero would sound, filled with broken, jazzy vibes. “Each And Every Way” brings back another D’Angelo reference; it sounds like an outtake of “Devil’s Pie”.
Keep Walkin both defines and represents the past, present, and future of Colonel Red. The 15 tracks are deeply rooted in soul, jazz and funk, it feels loose and unconstrained. He sounds like a modern Marvin Gaye – both smooth and edgy, and eclectic like Peven Everett and Joseph Malik. He gets a little churchy sometimes, and there was some unnatural rapping, but all together a nearly flawless album.