Friday, October 26, 2012

Shilts All Grown Up Blanket Records 2012

I am a recovering music snob having run hot and cold on the incredibly inaccurate "label" attached to the radio format known as smooth jazz. In a pool where the creative waters have run particularly shallow for some artists who are now musical footnotes at best, Paul Wiemar has continued to put out highly creative and dare I say "fun" original material on a consistent basis.

"Shilts" or "Shiltsy" as he is more commonly known nails it with All Grown Up. A common complaint of those that listen to more contemporary jazz would have to be including vocals on a recording that one would expect to be primarily instrumental in nature. Shilts addresses this issue with only two vocal tracks which features the incredible talent of Siedah Garrett who may well be one of the best if not under rated vocalists working any side of the music industry to date. Shilts shows off some vocal chops on "Since I Found You." Programming and riding the compression levels so hard that the music winds up sounding as though it had been sanitized for your protection is never an issue here. Artfully recorded, mixed and mastered there is a warm rich sound, an organic blank slate for Paul Weimar to turn out his best recording to date if not one of the better contemporary releases for the year.

"All Grown Up" kicks the party off with the signature Shilts groove that is deep rooted in the British acid jazz scene is a taste of what I refer to as some serious jazz nasty. While the sound is smooth as silk, Shilts takes his funk base seriously and his prolific talents make this a stand out tune for "dancin'" or "romancing". The ballad "Wink" is almost cinematic in scope, a tune in search of a love story. The Siedah Garrett tune "Got Love" is another funk infused gem with tremendous cross over potential. "We Don't Make The Rules" takes a blues vibe to another level, a hybrid that stands on its own as any good music should no matter what you call it. The band is smoking hot, the tunes are rock solid, and the vibe never borders on the pretentious. A perfect balance of the chill factor with the funkalicious whimsy Shilts is famous for.

What I dig about Shilts is that he is putting out his music, his way and with results that put him in an elite class of artist that is always growing. Paul Weimar is all grown up and seems to be having a hell of a lot of fun by doing it. We should all be so lucky. No complaints here, that would be taking hypercritical to a new dimension and that is not how I roll...

Tracks: All Grown Up; Since I Found You; The Test Of Time; Wink; Just Give It A Minute; Copasetic; Got Love (featuring Siedah Garrett); Life's Ups & Downs; Dear Juliet; We Don't Make The Rules.

Personnel: Paul Weimar: tenor sax, drum programming; Bill Steinway: keys, keyboard bass; Phil Mulford: bass; Gerry Johnson: guitar; Jack Schoolar: guitar; Jervonny Collier: bass; Richard Sherringham: trombone; Allen Hinds: guitar; Siedah Garrett: vocals; Ross Bolton: guitar; Jeff Leach: keys; Jay Rowe: keys & keyboard bass.