The Offering – Jans Ingber
Former Motet vocalist and percussionist Jans Ingber delivers a surprisingly strong set of modern R&B gems on his debut self-released album. A fine collection of jam players help Ingber articulate a consistent, languid vibe that never rises too far above the surface. But that isn’t really the point of soul music, is it? Featuring Joe Russo from the Duo on drums, the Motet’s Garrett Sayers on bass and Dominic Lalli on sax; Erik Deutsch on piano and helmed by Motet, Zilla, Citizen Cope producer Steven Vidaic, The Offering shimmers with an exotic mix of post-urban jazz filtered into a soft city blues machine.
And consistency is the buzz word for the album because Ingber manages to setup a fairly strong groove that channels acoustic blues through a Marvin Gaye template on the opening track, “All Along,” without sacrificing mood for unnecessary theatrics. On “Gratitude,” keyboardist Greg is able to hold down a tight bottom line on Rhodes while clavinet, trumpet, tenor sax, synths and various colors illuminate rather than suffocate. “Inspiration” engenders a sublime piano phrasing from Deutsch while Russo maintains a fairly compact tone on drums; meanwhile, Ingber appears in the vocal mix like soft candle light in a darkened basement. “Simple Breath” is a well-titled piece which features a clever turn on a basic chord progression by Ingber on acoustic guitar before Vidaic layers subtle shades with multiple keyboard overdubsa true standout on an album filled with gentle grace. “Dunoo,” which features Ingber on everything from guitar to clavinet to percussion, contains, perhaps, the most inventive spirit on The Offering as Fresh-era Sly Stone circles around Prince and beams out of space into 2007.
Ingber, with a little help from his friends, has crafted a cohesive statement that is quite content to wallow in the waves close to shore, never risking innovation for too much experimentation, erring on the side of exposing a wee bit of the confessional soul instead of misplaced bravado. And that’s what R&B can be in a nutshell but The Offering seeks towell, offer just a little more by way of some smart mind trips on a peaceful journey.