Detroit's Paul Randolph began playing music when he was six years old. He initially played guitar, but after hearing legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius play, he switched to the deeper sounds of the bass guitar. Since then, he has become a fixture in the Detroit music community, playing most recently with electronic music pioneer Carl Craig, keyboardist and vocalist Amp Fiddler, and Recloose. An accomplished musician, Randolph's broad talents led him to work with Hugh Masekela, The Supremes, Brian Setzer, Robert Cray, Parliament/Funkadelic, and War. Now he emerges with his first solo project on Moodyman's Mahogani Music label, "This is. . . What it is."
Randolph offers a foray into the smooth side of house music, blending R-n-B sonics with steady 4/4 uptempo beats. He incorporates subtle Latin and African rhythms into a polished and well-balanced collection. He showcases his talent as a bassist and vocalist, adding a heavy dose of funk on each of the CD's six songs. That's right, only six songs, just enough to allow a good taste of Randolph's ability to stand on his own as a solo artist. In addition to its surprising brevity, "This is. . . What it is" holds a neat twist; throughout the CD are snippets from an interview, which allows the listener a bit of insight into Randolph's influences and his career.
"This is. . . What it is," like its title suggests, is an easy, straightforward, unpretentious debut from an artist well-deserving of a frontman's limelight.