The group is led by, and organized around, Hammond B-3 specialist Nate Basinger. Basinger plays in the stellar heights along with some of the current Hammond masters like, Paolo ‘Apollo’ Negri, James Taylor and
Soullive's Neal Evans. His writing and playing evoke the echoes of Jimmy Smith, Booker T and Stevie Winwood, all the while moving the soulful organ sound ahead in time and space. This is pure soul, with elements of funk and R&B throughout.
And yet there's this lounginess thing I can't get past when I listen to it -- and I don't wanna get past it. If you're a fan of the Mod Jazz series of CDs you'll know what I mean. That series trods the line between soulful jazz and lounge jazz, and it's that line that The Diplomats occasionally cross over on this disk.
The album oozes with a self-confidence that sets the songs head and shoulders above a lot of the soulful funk and R&B that is being released these days. It's a confidence that isn't arrogant, but rather earned. On "Fascination" Basinger lays down an organ line with a very Jimmy Smith like swagger, while on the groovy instrumental "Bailout!" he let's the horns do the swaggering. "Promise Of A Brand New Day" melds the horns and organ into a cool breeze of sixties soul ease, while laid across the top are the airy vocals of Diplomettes. "Gimme One More Chance" offers up hot rockin' strings even, in a floorshakin' bit of soul that hearkens back to the solid soul ladies of Motown's big hit sixties era.
If there are any standouts here then it has be the albums two opening tracks. "B-o-o-g-a-l-o-o" is driven by a sustained organ attack punctuated perfectly with horns, but it's the sassy the vocals, simple as they are that really shake the song up. That's followed by probably the strongest track on the whole album "Back Off" which puts the Diplomettes up front and center where they can take control, and boy do they. When they say back off, you better back off.
Overall, this is the Diplomats most solid release, putting all the pieces together. If you like sixties Motown, or 70s soul jazz and funk, or smooth northern soul floorshakers, then you will definitelly get a kick out of this release.