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"It Is What It Is Review"

On this album and all preceding it, the duo has come to understand the sacrifice of making good music. They explained that they came to a point where they had to decide between making hit records or developing a career. They chose the latter.

"If you're gonna feed [audiences] junk, they're going to learn to like junk," Sean E Mac said, "but we refuse to bend on what we believe is good and keeping messages in our music."

*Impromptu: spontaneous, improvised, off-the-cuff. Impromp2: spontaneous, improvised, off-the-cuff. The musical duo Impromp2 definitely lives up to its name.

With the release of their fourth album the duo of Johnny "Johnny B" Britt and Sean "Sean E Mac" Thomas have unleashed another unabashed, distinctive and innovate disc of their trademarked multi-genre music.

That disc is titled "It Is What It Is," and it is "it" according to Impromp2 fans and soul-enriched rhythmic music lovers.

The stylings of Britt and Thomas were inspired by the final release of jazz legend Miles Davis. Davis' "Doo Bop" disc featured his trumpet riffs weaved throughout the lines of rap lyricists.

"I thought it was a great thing - the horn and the rapper," trumpeter Johnny B said. "So basically, I [interviewed] about 40 different rappers. I'm always into something different. I try to approach my horn differently; I try to approach my writing differently."

"I come from jazz, classical music, just different combinations, so it just kind of fell in my lap," he said of the idea to team up with a rapper. "I never really wanted to be in a group with anyone, I never thought of doing a group with anyone. But when I saw that, I knew that it could be something. He (Sean Thomas) was a rapper, but he was musical."

Britt came upon lyricists Thomas and his search was over. Impressed with Thomas' style and musical ties, the group quickly formed and just as quickly was signed to a major record deal. Motown was thoroughly intrigued with the blended sound of Impromp2.

"We wanted to do something different, but cool," Britt explained. "It was Miles' idea, but it was nothing like what Miles did. I just took it and ran with it. And of course, we do live music. That music was [sampled] and it was great, but there's nothing like live music."

Thomas added: "It's nothing like what we're doing now. It was something close and similar, but Miles was doing hip-hop jazz. It was a rapper on top of some jazz stuff. This is a lot more intricate, a lot more involved and mixed with jazz, R&B, and hip-hop."

The deal with Motown morphed into a deal with the jazz arm MoJazz, in part because Impromp2's sound couldn't quite be assigned. That sound is still yet to be accurately corralled or definitively named. What does the group call it? What is it really? ? "It is what it is." Britt stated, alluding to the so-named new disc and the fact that the duo has constantly faced the challenge that there is no consumer category for them.

"That has been a problem," Thomas agreed. "On radio or anything like that, it was hard - virtually impossible - for us to fit in anywhere. Everyone liked it, but there was not enough of any one thing for us to call home in any one specific genre of music. We knew that, but we wouldn't change that. We'll wait for the industry to adapt to what we're doing. There's no category. It is what it is. It's just good music."

Britt agreed and grumble about how and why they aren't categorized.

"It's funny when we sit back and listen to what other people call what we've developed as Impromp2, but I just don't think it's all that complicated," he said. "I know what real jazz is, I know how to play real jazz, but that's not what Impromp2 is. I think that America has been so commercialized with smooth jazz - and I'm not knocking smooth jazz - but that's not jazz."

The two both agreed that the mutation of music has left their mix of funk, jazz, soul, and hip-hop as the sound with no name. Impromp2 music includes those elements, but is not just hip-hop and not just R&B, at least not as R&B exists today, the two said. They explained that in another time, there would be no question as to what their music would be considered.

"If we came up back in the day with Earth Wind & Fire, we would be right in there," Thomas said. "We would be an R&B group. The only reason people categorize us as jazz is because there's no more live music in R&B anymore."

"[We have] a warm sound," Britt described, but because [we don't have] drum machines, it's not necessarily edgy enough."

That's definitely in the ear of the beholder. Improm2's "It Is What It Is" can easily be called edgy, as well as all the adjectives that accompany it. The disc features an all-star cast of guests including Take 6, Boney James, and George Duke, among others, and includes an exciting cover of Marvin Gaye's classic "You Sure Love to Ball."

On this album and all preceding it, the duo has come to understand the sacrifice of makin - By Kenya M Yarbrough

"It Is What It Is Record Release Party"

December 8, 2007

Material: The title of Impromp2’s fourth album, It Is What It Is, is about as close as one can get to defining the style of this act’s music. The songs range from spoken word (“I Wanna Marry You”) to smooth Jazz (“Mo Jazz”) to R&B (“You’re a Queen”) and even a soul number (“Keep Doin’”) that makes you blush just like the first time your hear Marvin Gaye’s :Sexual Healing”.

Musicianship: Before Impromp2 took the stage, the band performed a piece with each musician soloing and showcasing his remarkable skills. As well as this band of seasoned professionals perform, Britt’s vocals, jazzy muted trumpeting, and Thomas’ smooth raps (similar to PM Dawn) are the highlights of the show. Britt’s classical training and Thomas’ more urban influences flow together seamlessly, creating a sound that’s easy on the ears, with a message that is kind to the heart.

Performance: This record release party was quite the event, and Impromp2’s performance, as well as the backing band and singers, lived up to the hype. The duo delivered a set full of romance, funk, sexiness and edge. Britt and Thomas addressed the audience as family, and related stories about the creation of Impromp2, as well as their journey through four albums and their songwriting process.

Summary: What is rare about Impromp2 is that thye shout from the rooftop about values many artists disregard or hide today. They speak about loving their wives, self respect, and most importantly, the value of good music. They don’t subscribe to labels like hip-hop, neo soul, smooth jazz or R&B. Instead, Impromp2 emanate the best of all of these influences, and do so with a positive and optimistic attitude.

"Album Of The Month"

It is really hard to believe that this is the fourth set from Sean E Mac and Johnny Britt, and as far as quality goes, the gents have come up trumps yet again, delivering a set as equally strong as their last album. Steve Harvey does not play a part on this set, but the spirit of his excellence is symbiotic with that of Impromp2 and without looking at the booklet credits you would think he still had a hand in this.

Proceedings, therefore, are seamless. Impromp2 have, for some, always caused a bit of puzzlement; a fact played nicely upon in the title song of the album. I hunted for their first CD in a major store in London back in 1995, only to find it tucked away in the rap section. As if. Onto the opening salvo, the tongue-in-cheek yet incisor sharp “It Is What It Is”, opening with a dialogue from a rather less informed radio jock, only to be told by Sean that they are NOT new, they are respected among their peers, and furthermore make music we like to hear. Correct on all points, sunshine!

There follows a low-down dirty funky groove with a sexy bassline and Isleys / Chris Jasper era type keys thrown in for good measure. A salvo of questions hit the chaps from a number of voices asking whether it be hip hop, soul, pop, R&B, funk, neo-soul etc...the answer according to the soulful chorus is what it is. This wonderful fusion of soul, jazz and softly spoken rap suits Impromp2 to the ground. They are not finished there, though. “You're A Queen” is a splendid track and is receiving a lot of interest of Urban radio stateside. In this offering, a message is sent to ALL women about not allowing themselves to be portrayed as objects by the brainless R&B / Rap industry – the videos typifying women as only able to wear next to nothing or shaking their booty. Oh yes, and let's not forget the endless parade of car bumpers or basketball courts. As Sean says, he hates to think of his small children g rowing up seeing that and ascribing to that thinking. The “music industry” is sick and thank God for the likes of Impromp2 for a dash of sanity and intelligence.

More intelligence is proved in their uptempo reading of Marvin's “You Sure Love To Ball”, renamed here as “Luv 2 Ball”. This will do some business in the UK. I also really love the celebratory track, “MoJazz” which is very Take 6 in orientation. The muted trumpet comes into its own, and a special nod is made to J Spencer who sadly passed away a few years back. The song hails the famed Jazz label which sadly disappeared in 1997. Such a pity. “Dance With You” is another uptempo number which is as musically rich as you like. The instrumentation is, as you would expect, beyond reproach. One of my personal favourites is “Good Thang” which, in style, is straight from their début set back in 1995. “Keep Doin'” also hits the mark and best displays their wonderful harmonies. Superb, superb, superb.

If this isn't enough to log onto and listen to the gentle and jazzy “It's Alright” and fresh and fruity “I Wanna Know” with its Stanley Clarke-like guitar – again, a reflection of their first CD. This album is extremely strong, and certainly sits alongside the best of the current crop of heavy hitters. Please do NOT ignore this album. It should be a punishable offence not to own a copy!
- Barry Towler
- Soul Express

"Impromp2 - It Is What It Is"

I remember the first time I heard Impromp2. Then-Motown executive Steve McKeever (now head of Hidden Beach) played me some tracks in his office with a view to having me write a bio for his newly-signed duo who would be among the first acts signed to the MoJazz imprint.
Even before I met Johnny Britt and Sean Thomas, I was hooked on the innovative fusion of jazz, hip-hop and R&B that would become Impromp2’s trademark. Discerning music lovers – particularly in Europe – were immediately responsive to tracks like 'Enjoy Yourself,' 'Get Me Off' and 'Summer Nights' on that first CD, 'You’re Gonna Love It' and vocalist/trumpeter Johnny (a former musical director for The Temptations) and his rap partner Sean looked set to make a real impact. Such are the travails of being with major labels: a second album, 'Can’t Get Enough' disappeared when MoJazz was dissolved while a third LP, 'Definition Of Love' didn’t get the kind of attention it deserved.
Being committed to their craft and to their distinctive brand of music, the Impromp2 guys didn’t give up and longtime fans are being rewarded with a new album, 'It Is What It Is,' released on their own JCS label. Notes Johnny, “We took a break for about three years to spend time with our families and we started working on the record officially last October. It’s funny how the record evolved. Sean would come over and things started flowing musically and the next thing we knew, we had ten songs. It happened organically. Once we started, we didn’t stop creatively and the great thing was we had time. There was no pressure…”
Sean picks up the story of the album’s creation: “We asked each other, ‘who are we going to get to play on the record?’ and ‘who do we want?’ We didn’t worry about how it was going to happen and before we knew it, we had Wah-Wah Watson (on guitar), Freddie Washington (on bass) and special guests like Boney James, George Duke, Harvey Mason, Norman Brown and Wayman Tisdale…”
Brown and Tisdale were among the duo’s labelmates at MoJazz, hence one of the key cuts on “it Is What It Is” named after their former label. “It’s actually a tribute to another great musician who was at the company, J. Spencer,” says Sean. “It was like a ‘MoJazz’ reunion.” In keeping with the flavour of their earlier albums, the new record has cuts like “I Wanna Know,” reminiscent of “Summer Nights” from their ’95 debut while “Good Thang” hearkens back to “Enjoy Yourself.” Keeping the Impromp2 trademark sound alive are tracks like “Keep Doin’” and a great reading of Marvin Gaye’s classic “You Sure Love To Ball” which Johnny notes was suggested by partner Sean.
The L.A.-based duo is heartened by the response they’ve received for the new album: “It’s been phenomenal, much more than we expected,” says Johnny. “We’ve had a lot of comments from people who say this is our best record and that’s very gratifying, especially since we’re re-entering the marketplace after a few years. We’ve had orders from the UK, Denmark, Japan, Italy, Australia... Now we just have to find a promoter who can bring us over to Europe to perform!”
Reflecting on why they chose to call the album, “It Is What it Is,” Sean says, “We have a unique sound and there’s a misconception that we are a jazz group. People try to describe it. Is it hip-hop? Is it jazz? We just say it’s good music so why put a label on it? Whatever you want to call it, so be it! The bottom line is, ‘do you like it?’” For Impromp2 peeps whose passion for the group’s music goes back to that first album, the answer is apparently a resounding ‘yes.’ For those who haven’t yet caught on, we can only echo the name of that first set: you’re gonna love it!
- Blues & Soul Magazine

"New Impromp2 Track Tackles Negative Stereotypes About Women."

By releasing their latest single, "You're a Queen," Impromp2 tackles head on the negative stereotypes about women that have become common in the music industry in recent years.
In the wake of the Don Imus scandal, much has been said recently about the state of lyrics in contemporary Rap and Hip Hop music.
Despite Congressional hearings, Hip Hop Summits and the involvement of luminaries such as Rev. Al Sharpton and the NAACP, there has been no real musical response from the artists themselves.
Impromp2, an R&B/Jazz group, has just completed work on their 4th album, It Is What It Is and the first single to be released is an uplifting song that addresses these issues directly. "You're a Queen" has received tremendous response within the community because of its positive message towards women.
No punches are pulled with this song, speaking directly to women to reclaim their own image and refuse to accept the denigrating influence that has become almost obsequious within today's culture.
With lyrics like: "First you gotta respect yourself, before you expect anyone else to talk to you respectfully and treat you like the Queen you were born to be," clarifies that women themselves need to stand up and be heard.
Johnny Britt and Sean Thomas have been performing and recording as
Impromp2 for over 10 years, originally under the Motown's MoJazz label. With
this new release they seek to reverse the direction of the last decade's demeaning treatment to women in music.
"This is a crucial moment in our culture, when our children are constantly bombarded with negative words and images about women on a daily basis," says Thomas. "We've seen hundreds, if not thousands, of albums and graphic music videos played out across television, radio and the Internet which can and do make an impact on our society. We want to change the balance to a positive and more uplifting message."
"We both have young daughters who we want to have a wonderful future and not be subject to an exploitive stereotype. And we want our sons to treat all women with the respect and dignity they deserve," Britt added
The message is clear: It's time artists took a stand and began writing and producing more songs like "You're a Queen." To preview "Queen" and other tracks from It Is What It Is, go to
- EURWeb

"Impromp2 Invades Detroit with L'Renee"

A blend of hip-hop, r&b, neo-soul, and jazz warmed Detroit on a cold Saturday night last Valentine’s weekend as the duo Impromp2 greeted their favorite city with their trademark smooth sound. With opening act L’Renee setting the stage with her infectious sultry sound, the audience was treated to an extraordinary night of love songs, old favorites, and new grooves from this group of performers. Performing three songs from her CD “2nd Chances”, this lovely and talented young lady was been entertaining Detroit steadily for the past year, getting raves wherever she performs. Check out her my space page at’renee (el-reh-nay).

Impromp2 has been thrilling Detroit audiences since their debut “You’re Gonna Love It”, in 1995. With their new CD “It Is What It Is”, it is apparent that after a long hiatus Impromp2 is back in a big way. Crafting their unique sound with many heavyweights in the music game including Ray Parker Jr. Marcus Miller, and Wayman Tisdale among others, this new effort was featured prominently at this concert at the new venue Asian Village, on Detroit’s revamped waterfront. Although they performed most of their new music throughout the night, they didn’t disappoint the many fans who came out to hear some of the favorites from the past including their hits “Enjoy Yourself”, You’re Gonna Love It”, and of course “Summer Nights”. Check out our video interview with one half of this super group, vocalist and trumpeter/keyboardist Johnny Britt and also their web site

- The Detroiter


You’re Gonna Love It - Motown/MoJazz Records
Can’t Get Enough - Motown/MoJazz Records
Definition of Love - Big3 Records



Unique, distinctive, singular, peerless. Four words that come close to describing the music of Impromp2, the brainchild of the multi-talented, multi-faceted musical partners, Johnny Britt (Johnny B) and Sean Thomas (Sean E. Mac) whose combination of R&B, Soul, Jazz, and Rap have set them apart from other contemporary duos or groups. Since the release of their acclaimed 1995 MoJazz debut You’re Gonna Love It, Impromp2 has been building a global following of music lovers who appreciate the smooth and memorable grooves along with the sensual slow jams that are at the core of the team’s artistry.

Recognized for their uplifting and positive lyrics for and about women and relationships, Impromp2 is back with a new collection of music sure to excite and satisfy listeners worldwide who have long appreciated the duo’s musicality while winning over new converts to this one-of-a-kind soulful sound. Released on JCS Records, It Is What It Is offers eleven new incredible Impromp2 songs, which includes the first single, You’re a Queen, a powerful anthem written to respond to the growing controversy regarding how women have been portrayed and disrespected on radio and in music videos. This song is sure to generate national attention as the time has come to take a stand to re-empower women from within the music industry.

A distinguished all-star cast of special guests includes: Marcus Miller, Boney James, George Duke, Norman Brown, Harvey Mason, Ray Parker, Jr., Wayman Tisdale, Paul Jackson, Jr. and Take 6's Alvin Chea and Dave Thomas.