Colored Section

The Colored Section

4.4 11
by Donnie
     
 

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Unlike many of his neo-soul peers, Atlanta soul singer Donnie offers as much substance as style in his music. Sure, his seductive rhythms -- anchored by acid jazz, calypso, and soulful horns -- will undoubtedly provide the mood music for many a downtown Brooklyn lounge. But like Curtis Mayfield, Stevie

Overview

Unlike many of his neo-soul peers, Atlanta soul singer Donnie offers as much substance as style in his music. Sure, his seductive rhythms -- anchored by acid jazz, calypso, and soulful horns -- will undoubtedly provide the mood music for many a downtown Brooklyn lounge. But like Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, and his cousin Marvin Gaye before him, on The Colored Section Donnie charges his grooves with potent themes, addressing racial inequality on the gospel-tinged "Welcome to the Colored Section" and African-American pride on the hip-hop-flavored "Beautiful Me." Rather than barking his views, however, Donnie eases the listener in with his soothing vocal style, which is eerily reminiscent of both Wonder and Donny Hathaway. With his spiritually attuned music and his polemically charged message, Donnie makes a groovy -- and inspirational -- debut with The Colored Section.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stanton Swihart
What a marvelously audacious introduction The Colored Section is. Emerging from the same Jazz Café-centered alternative Atlanta soul scene that nourished and nurtured fellow hippie-soul singer/songwriters like Joi and India.Arie all the way into the public consciousness, Donnie's first LP is a topical, unapologetically conscientious, and even righteously stinging declaration that, yes, can only be likened to the classic sociopolitical masterworks of spiritual predecessors Donny Hathaway and especially Stevie Wonder. Songs like "Cloud 9" and "Wildlife," in fact, may be too indebted to genius-era Wonder -- the former with its wah-wah guitar and warm gusts of squelchy synth vibrato, the latter with its prominent clavinet and crisp harmonica ad-libs -- but are such stunning vintage impersonations that both easily could have slipped somewhere onto Innervisions. No matter from which angle you choose to approach such a statement, it couldn't really be taken as a criticism, nor should it be with The Colored Section. The music is consistently empowered and empowering: gracefully buttery, always deeply moving, and at its core profoundly idealistic. Generous melodies abound, rising from a gospel-derived groundwork, spun around street-tinged jazz rhythms, and enlivened by wonderful touches of humor like the Dixie frills of "Big Black Buck" that underscore an otherwise valuable criticism of consumerist society. And lest Donnie be dismissed as an imitator (a studied, well-versed disciple clearly, yes, but certainly not a clone), he explores a wealth of his own refreshingly original ideas, stretching out with genuine invention (the gorgeous cosmic explorations of "Heaven Sent," the jittery electronic backdrop of "Masterplan") as often as he reaches backwards into retro styles (invigorating bossa nova on "Do You Know?," the romantic, Baroque string arrangement of "Turn Around"). It is as bold and self-assured a debut as soul music has seen since D'Angelo's Brown Sugar. It falls just short of brilliance only because it borrows a few tricks too many from its obvious musical models, but even with its flaws, the album is such a vivid, radiant outpouring of soul-stirring talent and passion that it could fill two hearts.
The Fader
There are artists who simply try too hard to show off their complexities and turn them into a gimmick, but to Donnie his eccentricities don't make him special as much as they just make him human. Mariel Cruz

Product Details

Release Date:
05/20/2003
Label:
Motown
UPC:
0044003834224
catalogNumber:
000032402

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Donnie   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Billy Preston   Hammond Organ
Sekou Bunch   Bass
Yomo Toro   Trumpet
Bridgette Bryant   Background Vocals
Jeff Clayton   Clarinet
Natalie Jackson   Background Vocals
Wayne Linsey   Moog Bass,Piano (Grand)
McKay   Guitar
Avery Johnson   Guitar
IG Culture   Moog Synthesizer
Kaidi Tatham   Percussion,Keyboards
Louis Jr. VanTaylor   Flute,Saxophone

Technical Credits

Kedar Massenburg   Executive Producer
IG Culture   Programming,Producer
Mauri Bernstein   Executive Producer
Donnie   Arranger,Lyricist
Steve Harvey   Engineer

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The Colored Section 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In comparison to the other r&b artists that are considered sooo deep -- I guess I would say this album is okay. BUT! It is flawed. The album starts with a short intro "Welcome To The Colored Section" -- now this is impressive but unfortunately it is just an intro. For that moment lyrically and vocally he sounds original and makes me think he may be trying something different. I was wrong. The rest of the album turns into a Stevie Wonder tribute! So many of the songs, vocally and musically, sounded EXACTLY like Stevie Wonder that I had to look at the credits to make sure it wasn't a remake. Stevie should get some royalties for this especially on ¿You Got A Friend¿ -- it sounds TOO much like ¿Knocks Me Off My Feet.¿ Another case of lacking in originality and being that several other artists are doing Stevie Wonder impressions (Musiqsoulchild, Glenn Lewis, India Arie) this just sounds like another bad creation. Now lyrically he has some interesting moments. Especially in the intro, "sign your name on the black list and know that it's American History." Beyond that groundbreaking introduction his lyrics are medicore -- not as elementary as Bilal but I would say he is more first year college freshman¿lol. There are other moments but after track three he tends to be talking about the same thing in the same voice. If he is getting more passionate about what he is conveying to his audience then why doesn't his voice reflect that? He sings his "social" songs the same way he sings his "love" songs. His attempt for "Our New National Anthem" failed with trite and predictable words, "we can make it the promise land" or "power to the people be forever more" -- how many times have we heard that? Finally at the end we are graced with a ballad (I was praying he would get out of the up tempo beat for beat sound on all the other songs) that goes back to the intro track that I loved-- "The Colored Section." This is where the sound of his voice changes and he finally puts some feeling into it -- not just singing acrobatic notes. Not a great album but it is possible you can see something more powerful in the future if he develops his own style.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I only heard a few cuts while in the barbershop, and what I heard I enjoyed. Granted the brotha did remind me of Stevie and Donnie, but that's betta than some of that other trash that's out here, that ain't saying nothin'. I think he's taking a step in the right direciton. KEEP IT UP!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
There was a time when music inspired, empowered, and provoked thoughts, ideas, and change. Donnie has recaptured the essence of Gaye, Dylan, Mayfield, and Wonder with a collection of music and lyrics that moves not just the body but the mind and soul. A breath of fresh air and conscious raising - who says you can't go home?
Guest More than 1 year ago
In an age where mediocrity flows to top of the charts, Donnie is the best thing to hit R&B for a long faminine of uninspired radio trash. Yes, he may sound like Stevie Wonder but his collage of jazz beats and luscious lyrics are simply provocative. He also careeses us with a spattering of love songs meant to celebrate the heart. No other male artist since Prince or Michael Jackson has brought us such a hefty package of artistry and musicality for a debut CD. Take away the factory cookie cutter rap and give us the guts, glory and celebration in Donnie's voice any day. Thank God, we now can enjoy music again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i disagree with Kosmo77, his songs don't sound like Stevie Wonder's at all. he has his own style.i like the mix of old skool and contempory r&b music,he also has a beautiful voice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this album/cd is simply genius! lyrically unprecedented,and melodically profound. donnie's spirituality and awareness are quite evident. his propensity for greatness might be lessened,only because he seems concerns with truth[let's hope not].this soul singer's[and i emphasize" soul"]upside is limitless.keep pumping that heartfelt music, my man!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The "Colored Section" brings back the music of my childhood and our culture. Donnie is a deep man with passion and talent..it is one CD that speaks volumes. The arrangements and instrumentation is mindblowing. It also conveys the depth of our music and how it includes our history, spirituality and socially conscious issues. I listen to Cloud 9 in the morning before work. Donnie is wonderful and I cant wait for him to go on tour.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first heard Cloud 9 and feel in love with it. Then I purchsed the cd and I love the whole cd from beginning to end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Let's don't forget those 2 guys! Steve brings back da funk soul flava as he knows! (take a listen to Bridgette Mc Williams "too much woman") Bobby gives you "RUFUS" with a new and developed bass sound.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cat is phenomenal. He is an oasis of deep soul in a desert of materialistic, cookie-cutter R & P (rhythm and pop). He is what R&B should have turned out to be instead of what we have now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is incredible. Every song on here is abSOULutely fabulous. I hope that he comes out with another album soon cause the world needs to know about Donnie.