Edge of Daybreak Is Released on Numero Group

Listening to The Numero Group‘s upcoming release, Eyes of Love by Edge of Daybreak, is like a hearing compilation of all the best musical moments from Marvin Gaye to Barry White, from Boscoe to Kansas City’s own Shades of Jade. The album captures both the energy and tones of the late 70s while keeping a timelessness to it. Interestingly enough, the four musicians that make Edge of Daybreak were convicts–serving sentences running from six to 60 years. Not that whether someone is incarcerated or not has anything to do with his or her talents–as Harvard recently found out–but that these four artists could make something so free while behind bars is something remarkable in and of itself.

The sounds that come from Eyes of Love span the whole spectrum: from quick and jittering to slow ballads, from smooth jazz to hot funk, and everywhere in between. Yet, despite the disparate feels the band coaxes from their voices and instruments, there is the continuity at how free each song sounds. On one level, these songs may be ballads detailing the ins and outs of love, but on a more meta-textual level, these songs chart the scant moments of freedom for these incarcerated musicians.

The album starts off with the one-two punch of “Eyes of Love” and “I Wanna Dance With You.” The two songs set up Eyes of Love very well. The title track is a loose and meandering song, reminiscent of Marvin Gaye and Dianna Ross’ “My Mistake.” The song gives a good glimpse of the tamer sounds of the album. It transitions well into the quick and jittering “I Wanna Dance With You,” which bubbles with an energy that is completely off the charts.

Both “Eyes of Love” and “I Wanna Dance With You” set the bar high for the rest of the album. That said, Eyes of Love meets or exceeds it at every level. Rarely do I get sucked in to a record so immediately and completely. Edge of Daybreak certainly knew how to write near perfect songs (and a near perfect album). From beginning to end, Eyes of Love does something that all good art does–it allows us to inhabit it for a moment completely.

One of these songs is near the end, “Your Destiny.” Featuring gruffer vocals and a growling bass, the song has a bit of grit that seems to have been scrubbed from most of the other songs. That said, every bit of it is as smooth as the other eight tracks of Eyes of Love. As passionate as Al Green and as surprising as the best examples of jazz, ‘Your Destiny” is the ballad America needed but never heard.

Edge of Daybreak has made a great funk and soul album with Eyes of Love. That the album was conceived and recorded at Powhatan Correctional Center gives it more of a punch. Each song is powerful and each song fits to its album-mates in a way to create a fantastic whole. Look for Eyes of Love at Mills Record Company this Friday.

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