by Tony Johnson
Paul Hardcastle has released his 7th self entitled project “VII” as always he brings the unique futuristic melodies that has given him the title “Father of Quiet Storm Jazz” and continues to not disappoint.
This 10 songs project consists of a mixture of smooth/chill jazz, new age & a “dance/house/boogie” groove that will set you into another zone.
1) The Truth (Shall Set You Free) is a 11 minute song that will take you on a musical journey with 3 different phases. Phase I (0.00- 5:42) a smooth percussion and futuristic melodic groove with an Asiatic chant that’s setting the mood of the journey. Phase II (5:43- 7:52) Paul kicks in a uptempo beat on top of the Asiatic chant as you arrive in the heart of journey. Phase III (7:53- 11:29) Paul changes the whole entire melody into another smooth laid back groove on top of beautiful background voices that will take you to the end of the journey.
2) No Stress At All- Paul uses the sample of Kool & The Gang “Summer Madness” and made it his own. Right now this song is #3 on the Smooth Jazz Radio charts and won’t be surprised that it will hit #1 by next week. This is definitely one of my favorite songs on this project.
3) Summer Love- Is a smooth laid back R&B feel with daughter “Maxine” on vocals. another favorite of mine.
4) Crystal Whisper- a smooth jazz/ new age feel. Great highway music but a bit too lull for me.
5) Easy Street- The piano rift sounds like a take off of Bob James “Winchester Lady” A smooth funky groove with Rock Hendricks on Sax.
6) Dance Of The Wind- This is my top favorite cut off this project. This song to me is why Paul Hardcastle is in a league of his own when it comes to smooth/chill “quiet storm” jazz.
7) Apache Warrior- is an uptempo song which sounds very familiar to “Neon Adventure” off his last project “VI”
8) Stepping in the Shadows- Any lover of new age music this song will definitely hit the spot but unfortunately for me. It’s a sleeper…Zzzzzz! (Literally)
9) Love is a Power- Another funky groove with a sax and futuristic melodies. Nice dance track
10) The Truth (Shall Set You Free)(Reprise)- This version is 5:26 unlike the 11 minute version this track bypasses all of the musical theatrics of the original with a whole new remix. Personally I like this version way better.
Overall “VII” is a very chilled and relaxed project from start to finish. Actually I had to keep listening to this project over and over before I could give it an open review because certain songs are deeper than others and had to grow on me but definitely a must buy for any Paul Hardcastle fan but only true lovers of smooth jazz and R&B will be able to appreciate this kind of music.
Copyright 2013 – Tony Johnson. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.
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