Starring ... XXVIII Louie Vega Vega Records
Whether alongside Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez as pioneering production duo Masters at Work, as frontman of worldly soul collective Elements of Life, or as original solo producer, Grammywinning Louie Vega is a rare talent in the house and world music scenes.
The Bronx-born Puerto Rican’s famed Roots residency at Cielo, New York, still draws Househeads each week, while his Vega Records imprint remains a bastion of originality.
Starring … XXVIII, amazingly Vega’s first solo album in a 30-plus-year career, is as much a confirmation of his evergreen status and uncompromising approach to production as it is testament to his pulling power. No less than 25 artists lend their talents across this double disc, 28-song outing, and the results are brilliant.
Long-time house vocalist Monique Bingham, former Brand New Heavies frontwoman N’Dea Davenport and American singer-songwriter Vikter Duplaix all feature throughout a diverse musical journey taking in funk, latin, Afro, downtempo and R&B influences, bound for the most part by warm house production. Vega’s wife Anane, a star in her own right, also features, lending her vocals to the lounge-like Heaven Knows and Turned Onto You.
There’s long been an inescapable positivity in Vega’s work, and it’s no surprise such good vibes are in ample supply here. Whether through the classic house feeling of Ain’t No Stoppin’ Love, featuring Byron Stingily, or the gospel-house stomper You Are Everything, featuring R&B soul siren Jocelyn Brown, Vega stays true to house music’s ability to unite.