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I must make a serious personal confession at the outset of this review… I have been somewhat selfish which goes against my nature. Oh I have evangelized to my small but critically circle of the musically obsessed, but I just have been enjoying XII the debut project from Detroit’s own Brandon Williams so much that honestly I was keeping it to myself because ya’ll not ready, I missed my appointed deadline.

Let’s get down to the business first… go ahead and make your way over to Brandon’s site by following this link http://www.bwilliamsmusic.com/music where you can listen to the entire project and purchase, you know right there artist to consumer style. I urge you, that it is in my sole estimation that by purchasing XII and listening to it daily it will eradicate the memory of every poorly thought out, cast and constructed “artist tribute” on awards shows produced by Viacomand their affiliates… XII is simply that good.

Without a doubt the comparisons of XII have already been made (and rightfully so) to the great projects that Quincy Jones was able to put together under his name with a supporting cast of some of the best musicians, songs, arrangements and production. Yes, XII lives on that street. But whereas many projects of this nature rest on the drawing power of the assembled musical luminaries what Brandon Williams has been able to do that many miss in the contemporary space is that it’s not just the features, it’s the songs, the arrangements and the production evenly weighted and working together that makes the magic of XII.

Drawing from a another symbiotic occurrence between XII and on I don’t know let’s go with Quincy’s 1981 masterpiece The Dude you have tracks on XII that will garner the mass appeal of a “Just Once” or “One Hundred Ways” (“Stronger”, “Leave Love Be”) and other material that will leave such an impression as part of the overarching sound of the set that you simply will smile when you hear it because you know someone has experienced XII in its totality, just like you smile when you hear “Ai No Corrida” or “Turn on the Action”.

Speaking of “Leave Love Be” which features Alex Isley and Moonchild in my humble opinion it is one of the best songs I’ve not only heard this year but in a number of years. There are enough layers that I’m always discovering something new on each subsequent play, enough substance that it bids me daily to press play, and the performances play out in a manner that is so incredibly complimentary to each other that I can only describe it as organic intentionality (which yes I know I just made up a word there but that’s how I hear it). To explain further: the music sounds so free flowing that it sounds like that level beyond rehearsed perfectionism, where you are no longer reading and playing the music, you are the music.

So what’s the play here? Oh it’s quite simple… XII is that soundtrack that you need for your collection that will take you straight into 2015 and beyond. This is music that is perfect for the commute, the chill time at home, the upcoming get-together with friends, you name it. This is the part where we all work together to turn the tide, we’ve complained for well over a decade about what’s not happening in music, XII is beyond happening, so let’s go with that and the rest? Let the rest be what it’s going to be, do what it’s going to do, while we focus on supporting artists like Brandon Williams who are not only giving us what we want but what we need.

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.