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“Marc Anthony Thompson, the man behind the persona and the band, may be the most entertaining showman currently working the New York stage.” – Ann Powers, The New York Times
“As a songwriter, Thompson pledges allegiance to his own moody doctrine, managing intimate confession and ironic distance all at once.” – Jon Caramanica, Rolling Stone
“Unlike many of his new-soul peers, Marc Anthony Thompson draws on the past without sounding slavishly retro...Echoes of Sly Stone, Marvin Gaye….and Chocolate Genius lives up to his billing.” – Greg Kot, Blender
Chocolate Genius Inc (Marc Anthony Thompson), is back and better than ever with his Commotion Records debut Black Yankee Rock. Brilliantly produced by Craig Street (Norah Jones, Cassandra Wilson, k.d. lang), this disc captures the true essence of the genre-bending singer/songwriter’s talent. Expanding his canon of work with new tracks touching upon rock, blues, jazz, and soul, Chocolate Genius Inc has enlisted an amazing all-star line-up of Van Dyke Parks, Marc Ribot, Roy Nathanson, and Me'Shell NdegéOcello to capture the mood.
Black Yankee Rock delivers an eclectic collection of new songs. From the infectious opener "The Beginning of Always" to the lovely and lyrical "Chasing Strange" to the poignant pop anthem "Forever Everyone," the eleven tracks further cement Chocolate Genius Inc’s reputation as one of the most accomplished and original artists around.
Chocolate Genius Inc’s previous releases include two critically-acclaimed albums (Black Music and Godmusic), and his collaborations include work with such diverse artists as Stuart Matthewman; Cibo Matto; Medeski, Martin & Wood; the Roots and Philip Glass.
In addition to his own songwriting, Chocolate Genius Inc has brilliantly recorded covers from a wide range of artists and eras for films - from Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar" (from the Oscar© nominated film AMERICAN SPLENDOR), to The Beatles’ "Julia" (from I AM SAM), to Ray Davies’ "Days" (from the CBS hit show Crossing Jordan), to covering Harold Arlen's music in STORMY WEATHER: THE HAROLD ARLEN STORY. Further film credits include Alice Wu's SAVING FACE, Jim McKay's EVERYDAY PEOPLE, the Rodney Evans film BROTHER TO BROTHER, and the 1999 indie film hit TWIN FALLS IDAHO.
Chocolate Genius Inc also toured this summer with Bruce Springsteen's Seeger Sessions Band.
Black Yankee Rock kicks off a series of albums from Commotion focusing on new music from innovative artists we feel passionately about. Appropriately dubbed The Artist Series, these highly selective releases will complement the exceptional artistic quality of Commotion’s soundtrack titles.
OFFICIAL CHOCOLATE GENIUS INC SITE: www.chocolategeniusinc.com
"Thompson's following his own instincts, as always, and he always manages to pull off something as valuable as anything by Eels or Beck." - AllMusic.com
"Endlessly listenable, like a pleasant dream with a haunting subtext, this record has claws. "
"..a vocalist and visionary...His latest release, 'Black Yankee Rock,' is an ambitious collection..."
- The New Yorker
"...emotional, enigmatic songs, loaded with mordant wit, humanity, and smarts..."
- Village Voice
"...reference points start with T. Rex but settle more often on a moody ballad style that recalls Tom Waits, (and) the Eels" - LA Times
"...Chocolate Genius, may be the best practitioner of rock/soul synthesis you'll never hear."
"The music housed within the covers spouts forth powerfully expressive emotion..."
- PM Media Review
"The Genius has the guts, the talent and the audacious moniker to challenge the royal funkster [Prince]" - Utne Reader
"These songs ride the smooth, whispery groove of seduction, with a vibe of bewitching beauty offsetting often-abstract examinations of love, faith, lust, sex and identity." - Winston-Salem Journal/Relish
"True to form, Black Yankee Rock is perverse and paradoxical, a volatile alloy of ingredients that interact in uniquely satisfying, if irreconcilable, ways."
- Illinois Times
"Marc Anthony Thompson shows himself well adept, a writer of powerful and affecting songs and ballads...Hard not to recommend this. Period." - Gigwise
"... surprises as much for its conceptual thrust as its narrative/lyrical bent." - Nashville City Paper
"Yeah, shouldn't Marc Anthony Thompson, aka Chocolate Genius, have done the soundtrack to that updated Willy Wonka film? That would have added a little laid-back soul..." - Newsday
"...Black Yankee Rock is a glorious celebration of love's frailties and vulnerabilities." - Bust
"...opens with his most Sly Stone-ish blast...boasts a floating ambient collaboration with Moby and even a simmering urban-soul groove..."
- Orange County Register
"It's Genius speaking one-to-one to us as parents, siblings and lovers or a campaign to share secrets among members of the communities or even the country." - Cincinnati City Beat
"...makes vital connections between soul and rock, blues and jazz..." - Knight Ridder
"His music fuses warm R&B, soulful jazz, and beautifully lyrical ballads..." - Radar Report
"...he manages to pound slinky funksters..." - Colorado Springs Independent