June 14, 2024

Althea René
In The Moment
(Chocolate Caramel – 2006)
by S.H. Watkins, Sr.

When I was coming up we had the likes of Hubert Laws and Herbie Mann on the flute, but there was also the unique and beautiful Bobbie Humphries. Bobbie was my favorite both for her characteristic flair and her feminine perspective on jazz music styling. Much like contemporary flutist Sherry Winston, Althea René has taken the torch waiting to be passed from the inimitable Ms. Humphries in grand style.

The CD starts with the jazzy title track in a smooth and harmonic flow. “I Can” is a walkin’ piece that draws on Althea’s stylistic ability and a catchy hook. With some Byrd-ish mutes and some Duke-ish keyboard lines “Campari Juice” is a throwback to the golden ages of Donald Byrd and fusion jazz. On “More Than You Know” Althea sings with a voice that is reminiscent of Sadé while serenading us on the flute to some nice guitar accompaniment.

I particularly enjoyed her remake of the hit “Me, Myself and I”. Although not technically the best song on the CD, it caught my attention the most often while I was listening to the CD. The same goes for “When You’re Around” .. I noticed it each time it came up in the rotation and noted that it was particularly pleasant. This is good travelling music, good working music, just plain old good listening music.

Breathtakingly beautiful and unmistakably talented, Althea René has performed with the likes of Kem, Ronnie Laws, Herbie Mann, Nancy Wilson, Al Jarreau and Donald Byrd to name just a few. The life experiences were not lost on Althea Ren&eacute, who sounds like an angel and performs like the consumate professional that she is. This is HIGHLY recommended listening.

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