Charles Laster II and Silvia Pratesi – Journey of Life

Charles Laster II and Silvia Pratesi – Journey of Life / 2007 Self / 11 Tracks / /

Charles Laster II has been around the gospel scene for a number of years, but even before that, was crafting jingles for Ford Motors and songs for the Detroit Pistons. The other half of this act, Silvia Pratesi, cam to composing music much later – in 2007, but by the time that “Journey of Life” ends – individuals will be convinced that these two have been making music together for decades. The disc’s opening song (the title track) sets the stage for the rest of the disc in that it provides individuals with an interesting new take on gospel music. The inclusion of a classic string arrangement gives the gospel / R&B style put forth by Laster that much more energy. The unique composition present on this opening track will keep individuals focused on the following tracks, as well as to introduce listeners to Laster and Pratesi’s style.

The second track on “Journey of Life” is “I Believe”, and the song does a good job of innovating while continuing to play on many of the same influences and styles broached during the opening track. The few seconds that the track is instrumental provides listeners with evidence that all pieces of Laster and Pratesi’s collaboration, instead of just the vocals, are stellar. “I Believe” keeps a high momentum through the inclusion of brass on the instrumental side and a rap interlude on the vocal side. The eclectic sound of Laster and Pratesi during this track destroys any perceptions that listeners come to, and show the act as always changing, always trying to find the strongest possible sound.

This dedication to the perfection of their music continues during “In My Mind”, where Laster and Pratesi craft a slower, more jazz-influenced track. Laster and Pratesi even add a little bit of “New York Minute”-era Eagles to the mix, further strengthening the track. Each track on “Journey of Life” provides listeners with a different facet of Laster and Pratesi. By the time that “I Feel The Power” ends the album, individuals will have little idea where the act will go for their next album. The one thing that listeners will know is that their next album will be an impressive work that seeks to change the common perceptions of gospel and modern R&B.  With such a diverse array of tracks on an album, most acts would suffer an identity crisis by the fifth or sixth track. The ability of Laster and Pratesi on “Journey of Life” is enough that each foray into the unknown makes the resulting disc that much stronger.

Top Tracks: True Love, I Believe

Rating: 7.2/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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