Red Kiva, Chicago, Sept. 24, 2010

Story and Photos by James Walker, Jr.

Ugochi's recent CD release party was just that........ a PARTY. Red Kiva in the West Loop was at full capacity with friends and well wishers as Ugochi and her band mates: keyboardist Shawn Wallace, drummer Shaun Scott, bassist Jeff Harris, percussionist Danjuma Gaskin and background vocalist Deanna Carpenter had this intimate club "rockin' and rollin'. " Some of Chicago's finest musicians, including vocalist Dee Alexander, flutist Nicole Mitchell, cellist Tomeka Reid and pianist Chris Rob, were present to give Ugochi some "love." She has in the past performed with most of these artists.

Ugochi's CD, Afro Soul Effect, is impossible to categorize under a singular genre as it incorporates the sounds of jazz, R&B, gospel, soul, samba, reggae and hip-hop neatly packaged as "Afro Soul." If the response of the audience to her high energy set is indicative of the CD's potential, an emerging star may be in the works.

When she wasn't raising the temperature in the club, solos by keyboardist Shawn Wallace, percussionist Danjuma Gaskin and other band members kept the flame burning. The energy was infectious as some within the crowd sang along with Ugochi as if they were her backup group. It was a blast and by night's end all in attendance were standing and singing Ugochi's well deserved praises. Not only was her music being felt, but each song carried a message of hope, love and inspiration.

Ugochi can be contacted at www.ugochi.com for additional information pertaining to appearances and CD purchase. This listener highly recommends Afro Soul Effect,which contains 12 tracks representing 12 regions of the world.


Jeff Harris

Shaun Scott

Deanna Carpenter & Ugochi

Shawn Wallace

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Contact James Walker and JazzChicago.net at jwjazz@att.net

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