The Jazz Project: Exhale

February 2021

688

Exhale •••
Patrick Bradley, saxophonist

Keyboardist Patrick Bradley’s fifth album, Exhale, comes at a time when the musician believes that we all need to expel the fear, worry and division gripping the country, and focus on inhaling hope and peace.  Mr. Bradley recorded Exhale during quarantine without ever being in the studio. He worked with Darren Rahn, who wrote the title track, “Exhale,” and produced nine tracks for the project. Grammy winner Jeff Lorber also produced a pair of tunes.

The album is a contemporary amalgam constructed of jazz fusion, rock, R&B, blues, funk and pop. The melodies are lush and indelible, fragrantly blossoming amidst soulful grooves. The fusion excursions stretch beyond and across borders. The production deftly melds the warm organics of live instrumentation and the modernity of synthesized sonics. The musicianship throughout is top shelf. With Mr. Bradley playing piano, organ, keyboards and synths, he was accompanied by Mr. Rahn (saxophone, keyboards, synths & programming), Mr. Lorber (keyboards, synth bass & guitar), guitarist Michael Thompson, horn player and arranger David Mann, bassist Mel Brown, percussionist Christian Teele, and drummers Tarell Martin, Gary Novak and Dave Weckl. Mr. Rahn along with chart-topping trumpeter Rick Braun and guitarist Allen Hinds are featured as soloists.

Exhale contains the following songs: “Completely Yours,” “Reinvention,” “Exhale” (title track), “Song Of May,” featuring Darren Rahn, “Sip‘n the Breeze,” “Cat Man Blues,” featuring Rick Braun, “Meant To Be,” featuring Darren Rahn, “Lighthouse,” featuring Allen Hinds, “In the Heart of the Seas,” “Providence,” and “Walk with Me.”

Tranquility •••
Les Sabler, guitar

Contemporary jazz guitarist Les Sabler finds “Tranquility” in a new vintage guitar with Grammy winner Paul Brown. When the musician entered Mr. Brown’s Funky Joint studio near Los Angeles to begin tracking, Mr. Brown suggested that his friend swap out his trusty guitar in favor of Mr. Brown’s vintage Gibson Johnny Smith model. The electric guitar, that has innate acoustic qualities and balanced tone, gave Mr. Sabler an entirely new sound, which he used to create his eighth album, Tranquility. “This guitar’s sound is a sonic departure from anything I had previously recorded and this resulted in a successful single release, ‘Keep Pushin’,’ Mr. Sabler said.  “My fascination with the expressive tone of this instrument and my comfort in playing it led me to acquire my own, a vintage ‘67 beauty,” added the Nashville-based guitarist. The album is a melody-rich, contemporary jazz listening experience. The set consists of vibrant harmonies, funky R&B grooves and sophisticated instrumental pop. Mr. Sabler’s deft and soulful electric guitar occasionally yields to his more sensitive nylon-stringed guitar, including on the eloquent “Esselle’s Dance,” which he told us “is as beautiful as anything I have ever recorded.”

Mr. Sabler and Mr. Brown cowrote eight songs for Tranquility, collaborating with hitmaker Lew Laing (“Keep Pushin’” and “Where Has She Gone”), Jeff Carruthers (“Easy Moves”) and Shane Theriot, the latter with whom they cowrote the single “Crescent City Strut.” The two musicians revisited the album’s lone remake, “Sunrise,” a George Benson original that Mr. Brown masterfully illumined with Lee Thornburg’s trumpet and trombone. According to Mr. Sadler the title track, “Tranquility,” really exemplifies the beauty of this exceptional guitar that was the instrument of choice for George Benson’s classic ‘Breezin’. The album contains the following songs: “Crescent City Strut,” “City Rhythm,” “Three Dee,” “Esselle’s Dance,” “Easy Moves,” “Tranquility” (title track), “Keep Pushin’”, “In The Light” (Remix), “Where Has She Gone,” and “Sunrise.”