Douye -- Journey

In a word, wow! Newcomer Douye brings such a freshness, so much silky smoothness to our world of smooth jazz that she produced a beaming smile to my lips the moment I heard her belt out the first notes of her opening track. Such sultriness, such a sense of belonging here. Her debut album, Journey, is loaded with splendid melodies and rhythms and colored perfectly with her fine, oh-so-fine vocals. Such a combination is usually a success, and Douye is here to add an exclamation point to that assertion.

Hailing from Nigeria, one can�t help making the obvious comparison to another nightingale from that marvelous land: Sade. Make no mistake, each of these ladies holds her own identity, but the affinity for the sultry, the sassy, the sexy is more than evident.

This album never misses a beat, pardon the pun, as it glides in confidently and captures every fiber of one�s aural senses and refuses to let go until the closing note of her finale �The Voice.� Choosing a favorite here is about as difficult as you can imagine. Each selection has its own magnetic pull, incredibly ripe with melody and shape. The phrasings on each song are well-placed, and each song sets a solid direction from the opening notes through the end. Still, if really pressed, I suppose I could select a couple of tunes that perfectly embrace and serenade �Fly Away,� �On For You,� �Cold Wind Blows,� �Walk Away� and�oh, did I say �a couple?� The point is this, imagine yourself anywhere tranquil, anyplace soulful, and you'll feel the need to have this album in hand.

We all know of that one-hit wonder or that debut album that became the only signature project for some artist who later vanished into obscurity. Here�s betting that Douye won�t be one of them.