Ladies & Gentlemen...Nigel Hall is a remarkable introduction for any number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that with this auspicious solo debut, longtime Soulive and Lettuce collaborator Nigel Hall emerges fully formed—a committed soul man, with the skills and chops to immediately qualify him as a legitimate R&B contender. It’s not enough that he possess the vocal chops and keyboard skills needed to meet the standard, but the fact that he’s so adept at such a vintage sound makes one wonder if he’s been hiding or hibernating for 40 years. Hall chooses his material carefully; apart from his astute originals, he sources the Isley Brothers, Benny Latimore and fusion funksters Stanley Clarke and Roy Ayers to supply his covers. Either way, he’s convincing, and on songs such as “Lay Away,” “Gimme a Sign” and “I Just Want to Love You,” he conveys such an infectious sound that it’s all but impossible not to be moved by his dynamic and drive. Even the oft-covered “I Can’t Stand the Rain” sounds spirited and inspired, courtesy of an unusually upbeat interpretation. Hall brings the prerequisite vitalityand a fresh enthusiasm to his stirring archetypical sound, delivering an immediate appeal that’s both ageless and inviting.