Stuart Zender - The AZUR Project (2002)

Stuart Zender - The AZUR Project
Mp3 @ 192 kbps | Total Time: 45:19 min | 62 Mb
Recorded: 1999-2001 (Never-Released) | Genre: Soul, Funk

AZURE (pronounced Az U R) was a band formed in 1998 by Stuart Zender (ex-Jamiroquai bassist) and his friend Donny (DON-E). The project was to show off the men's writing skills and Stu's own Producing talents on the Virgin Records Label. Few details at the time had surfaced. Gathering from various publications, the group was to feature a horn section from Cuba, Pino Palladino, and D'Angelo. A single was planned (major worldwide release) for Spring 2000.
And then nothing.
The news stopped and after awhile everyone accepted that something must have gone wrong to sour the deal. Stuart never talked about what happened in publication so most of the details are sketchy. Apparently, Virgin was all for the idea of the AZUR album. They had fan popular (and well respected in the industry) bassist Stuart Zender, a partner for him (Donny), and one of their own artists (D'Angelo) collaberating on the project. Virgin had major plans for a US release of the album, as well as, the rest of the world. Stu was thrilled to put it mildly. The album quickly started working out in weeks what takes most groups months.
So what went wrong? It seems Tyrese did. Virgin's decision to release and promote the Tyrese album seemed to upset Stu. I don't know why or how fully this is true but we know the result. Virgin Records kept sending money to Stuart & Donny for the AZUR project. Virgin already had the first AZUR track in hand to start working as a single but no other material. And so Virgin kept sending money and AZUR kept sending back no word. This little game went on for awhile before Virgin decided to call it quits. Amazingly, neither side has ever stated bad feelings about the project.
And so the album disappeared. until now, of course.

Tracks Review

"Baby I've Got to Know" is your smooth R&B style track. Brings up thoughts of smokey Jazz clubs in Atlanta and relaxing as the beat over takes you. A great vocals/backing vocals track.
"Say I Want You" is another R&B with touches of the urban genre. D'Angelo-ish in many ways. Phat bassline on the track and tight keyboards. Another vocal masterpiece.
"AZUR (As You Are)" is one of the two best songs on this album. Originally set to be the lead single, it owns you from the first beat. This track drags in your urban jungle, funk (and I mean REAL funk -- classic 70s funk masters stuff), and more light dabs of the R&B flavor. Stu is all over the board playing a great bass track and yet he leaves more then enough room for you to enjoy everyone else as equally. An easy 1 anywhere.
"Suddenly" continuing the urban jungle/funk vibes, we travel into a beat track. A couple of these album tracks remind me of the early samples from the original 'Synkronized' album that Stu was on. This is one of them.
"Love is So Cold (feat. D'Angelo)" was originally slated as "My Baby's Eyes" for D'Angelo's Voodoo album. Why he cut it, I'll never know. Standard D'Angelo smooth R&B music. subtle bassline and even lighter drums/percussion.
"Anything to Make It Through" is simply beautiful. The album flows well track to track meeting back in the world of R&B. Stunning guitars & keys. All the tracks have a great group of singers and this one still leaves me speechless.
"Always Seem To Remind Me" takes us back up to that "AZUR" track vibe. Urban, R&B, and funk rule your world. Drums & percussion. Not light but slightly under is keys, guitar & bass but still well represented.
"Get to Heaven" crosses back into your urban jungle material. Some of it sounds M-Beat-ish but all original. Beat people would eat this track up.
"Sunshine" mixes your urban back in with R&B. Hard to describe in words. God I wish I had a sample because it flows well as a beat track. Vocals are really tight here.
"Picture in My Heart" is classic Stu playing with your mind. R&B mainly but Stu rules the track in such a quiet matter. Wicked horn section in here. Good flow of guitar and beats. The only annoying thing is that the track just stops. Probably never got to be finished before the project was ended.

No track names were available so these are of my own creation.

1 - Baby I've Got to Know
2 - Say I Want You
3 - AZUR (As You Are)
4 - Suddenly
5 - Love is So Cold (feat. D'Angelo)
6 - Anything to Make It Through
7 - Always Seem To Remind Me
8 - Get to Heaven
9 - Sunshine
10 - Picture in My Heart

Credits & Great thanks to Seadon Adams!


Mp3 @ 192 kbps

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