The inspired and inspiring Jonathan Butler delivers a stellar release with Living My Dream!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Today the U.S. Postal Service brought me tidings of great joy which shall be to all people, starting June 24th. With an evocative spiritual baseline and a nuanced sound of contemporary splendor, Jonathan Butler's somewhat autobiographical approach is part of the new sound for contemporary instrumental music. All originals with a heartfelt organic authenticity that is rare in the somewhat sanitized for your protection world of contemporary jazz.
This unique hybrid is a marvelous blend of R&B, jazz, pop and gospel. A new direction? Not really, but few contemporaries can pull off such a genuine release without a certain melodic disconnect occurring. The title track "Living My Dream" is a gritty jazz nasty, throw back jam with a contemporary finish. R & B meets funk. The instrumental opener "African Breeze" was originally composed by Butler for the motion picture soundtrack Jewell of the Nile. The reharm is fresh, vibrant and brimming with energy as the melody is delivered on nylon string guitar. Marcus Miller makes a cameo on "Let There Be Light" along with one of the fastest rising saxophonists in contemporary music, Elan Trotman. Pure Flavor finds "Song For You" with mad crossover potential for multiple formats. A shuffle beat, a reggae infused groove and the urban cool sound of Butler on electric guitar.
A critics joy, a release that reviews itself. Solid original material, amazing guest artists and a sound that never gets in the way of the music. Take everything you love about Butler's previous work and bits and pieces can be found here. A lyrical mosaic drawn from places far past the soul.
As close to perfect as one can get.
Photo: Raj Naik
Tracks: African Breeze; Living My Dream; Be Still; Let There Be Light; Heart and Soul; Song For You; Catembe; Night To Remember; All About Love; Sweet Serenade; A Prayer.
Personnel: Johathan Butler: Guitar, Vocals; Katisse Buckingham: Horns (1-3); Jodie Butler, Antonio Sol, Aaron Gutierrez: Background Vocals (2,5,8,9); Gorden Campbell: Drums (1,6, 8-11); Tim Carmon: Keyboards; Dennis Dodd Jr.: Guitar, Drum Programming (6); George Duke: Piano (3); Mike Eiya: Tenor Saxophone (5-7, 10); Agape Jerry: Guitar (6); Dan Lutz: Bass (1,2, 5-11); Marcus Miller: Bass (3,4); Rashawn Ross: Horns and Arrangement (1,2); Garrett Smith: Trombone (5-7, 10); Brigg Sterns: Synth Keys (6); Elan Troutman: Saxophone (4); Jay Williams: Drums (7); Dave Wood: Guitar (1-6, 8-11); Ramon Yslas: Percussion: (1-6, 8-11).