Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

One Dance
Harrison Stafford & The Professor Crew
Soulbeats/Broken Silence (Europe) / HTS Roots Creations (US)
LP / CD / Digital Release
June 1, 2016

Track list
  1. Jah Shine
  2. Hush
  3. Morality
  4. One Dance
  5. The Music
  6. Young Dread
  7. California
  8. Giddeon
  9. Balance
  10. Dub Shine
  11. One Dub
  12. Dubbeon
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Total votes : 7
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
How upfull and pleasant it is to sight a committed Roots messenger create a solid sound that retains pure potency and urgency; album by album and tour by tour. To do this and seamlessly create a resonating and diverse Roots collective simultaneously is remarkable. Talking about HARRISON "PROFESSOR" STAFFORD, the frontman for the hugely successful band, GROUNDATION, and the spearhead of the PROFESSOR CREW. He has just released his third release with the latter; aptly titled, "ONE DANCE". This is a continuation of Royal excellence that links Mr. Stafford with the Royal roll call of legendary musicians he assembled five years ago...

Harrison Stafford founded Groundation in 1998 at Sonoma State University (Northern California) and has never looked back. The nine piece Roots unit is still strong after ten albums and countless world tours. The multi layered sound is embraced across the four corners of Creation. Known as "Professor" (resulting from his two year stint teaching "History Of Reggae Music" at the university); his first foray in side projects was 2006's "Rockamovya". A brilliant Jazz/Reggae set that marked his first collaboration with legendary drummer Leroy "HORSEMOUTH" Wallace. After a 2010 pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine, he was inspired to do the opposite of a Groundation record. In Jamaica, he assembled "The Professor Crew", consisting of Horsemouth Wallace (drums), Flabba Holt (bass), Lloyd "Obeah" Denton (keys) and Dalton Browne (guitars). The amazing result was 2011's "Madness"; an incredible set that also featured the likes of U Roy, Ashanti Roy, Winston McAnuff and Bernard Collins. Internationally acclaimed, the collective took to the road and rallied the massive in an electrifying manner. The following year, "Throw Down Your Arms" was released and displayed the live power of this electrifying unit. This was recorded during a European tour in August, 2011 and is essential listening. Thankfully, this crew fulljoys the connection and "One Dance" is presented in dynamic style. Honorable mention to MARIUS FINGER (Rootdown Promotions), an ever forward man who keeps this album and countless others in full recognition throughout Europe and beyond...

"One Dance" was recorded at Harry J's (JA) on August 14, 2015 (that's right, traditional manner of recording, live and direct) and at Young Tree Studio (California) in Oct-Nov, 2015. Legendary engineer Stephen Stewart and Harrison are back at the board with longtime mixer King Robby adding a crucial mix from Reasoning Studio. Legendary engineer Jim Fox (did most of RAS Records catalogue) mastered the project at the famed Lion And Fox Studio (Washington D.C). Harrison produced this Roots affair and has become quite worthy in this capacity over the years; consider his production of the recent "Natty Will Rise Again" with Winston Jarrett, Pablo Moses and Congo Ashanti Roy!

This set opens with "Jah Shine". Anthemwise with serious earthtones, Harrison trods like a Lion over the tuff riddim with experience and deep lyrics - "it ain't funny, organizing religion to make money". There's a live feel with Horsemouth's drums and Obeah's organ work upfront. "Hush" is a Heartfelt ode to the power of Family. Professor wails in a powerful manner on a riddim embedded with Flabba's granite bass and Dalton's riffs. A song of excellence, importance and resilience. Thoughtful and flowing structure. The magic continues with "Morality". Well oh well, this is deep Roots anchored by a flawless riddim arrangement and Harrison flowing without boundaries. He has always delivered with a Marleyesque quality and he skillfully scats with poise and confidence. It's clear that this ensemble fulljoys the atmosphere. The title is a standout selection; a Ska soaked anthem craftfully injected with broad tones and intoxicating lyrics - 'still with the abundance of food we're facing starvation. Teach them, Professor! "The Music" is real deal music indeed. This is Dancehall style with Flabba and Horsemouth doing it right. Dalton's sweet guitar evokes memories when he was with The Studio One Band backing Freddie McGregor many years ago. A celebration that's pure upliftment. "Young Dread" is tougher than the rest. Opening with a fiery speech from Marios Savio delivered at UC Berkeley in 1964, it seques way into a forward Roots anthem that's lyrically and musically potent. A sincere plea for conscious youth to stay the Rightful course despite any Babylonian circumstance. Broad riddim with serious drums, bass, guitar and Harrison's percussion. Tuffest!!

"California" shows the diversity of this "first team" crew. Harrison delivers truly about the Golden State with harmonies that evoke Congos atmosphere. Highest heights message music from the first note to the last drop. Boom!! "Giddeon" is tremendous tracking all the way. Riding a Roots riddim with worldbeat overtones, Harrison rides regal with Dread observation and sincerity. Pure engagement from all involved. A whopping great song!! "Balance" is another instant rewind selection. Obeah's ethereal organ work and Zion high harmonies float alongside with Harrison's lyricism - "these walls will crumble down one day and all will hail and shout with joy hip hip hooray". This original vision has a subtle Gladiators feel to it and is an example of Roots Reggae Music circa 2016. A song to embrace for years to come. The listener is treated to three majestic Dubs to round out the set. "Dub Shine" strips down "Jah Shine" beautifully. Harrison's vox floats just above the deep organ work and Horsemouth's incredible drum work. Dub design with absolute experience. "One Dub" ("One Dance") is a Dub delight! Presented in a raw and classic manner. Brings back memories of Dubs found on "Dub For Daze" (a brilliant excursion of sessions at Lion & Fox Studio for Ras Records; released in the '90's). You want Dub music, this is it! "Dubbeon" ("Giddeon") is dissected and reassembled with the precision of a surgeon. Each track is given full attention and stitched back together for a bin shaking result. These riddim makers are masters of their respective tools of Jah trade!

HARRISON STAFFORD & THE PROFESSOR CREW's "ONE DANCE" is a masterclass presentation of Roots Reggae and a reflection of experience, unity and vision. Mr. Stafford has the undeniable respect of the industry's fraternity and maternity after many years of hard work and determination. Yes, legends like Don Carlos, I Jahman Levi and Apple Gabriel have contributed to his Groundation works but to keep this stellar crew together for such a length of time deserves maximum attention and respect. Engaging and important from start to finish; "One Dance" satisfies those familiar with previous work and certainly will grab the attention of a new audience. Highest recommendation. GO DEH!!!