Paul Hardcastle the undisputed King of Smooth “Chill” Jazz is back with “The Jazzmasters VII (7)” released on June 10, 2014.
According to his record label Trippin’ N’ Rhythm Records announced “Paul Hardcastle / Jazzmasters VII is the Biggest selling album of the week in the US. #1 on the US Billboard Contemporary album ”sales” chart, #1 on the Billboard jazz album ”sales” Chart, #1 iTunes ”sales” Chart, #1 on Amazon ”sales” Chart.”
Therefore the album pretty much speaks for itself however as a music reviewer I must present my own outtake of “The Jazzmasters VII”
I have remained a real supporter of Paul Hardcastle since 1985 “Rainforest” with his smooth melodic melodies and funky grooves. Over the path of 30 years, his style not in the least changed. His music is tranquil and relevant although his music seldom can be lull and mundane. Jazzmasters VII is a sequel of the Paul Hardcastle formula despite a few songs that stood lull, however here is my evaluation of the 12 tracks.
Track 1 (Unlimited Love (Pt.1) & Track 8 (Unlimited Love “The Strings” (Pt 2) Paul Hardcastle does a magnificent job of recreating that Barry White Unlimited Orchestra feel starring Cindy Bradley on trumpet. Hardcastle’s string arrangements would receive mad respect and admiration from Barry White supposing that he was alive today. (5/5 stars)
Track 2 (Rhythm of Life) & Track 12 (Rhythm of Life “Chill Reprise”) One of my favorites off this project. This song has more of a uptempo “Stepper’s” vibe, with Paul’s melodic melodies, Rock Hendricks smooth tenor sax and Maxine Hardcastle sultry vocals in the backdrop is another winner (5/5 stars)
Track 3 (Free To Fly) This is what I’m referring to as a “Lull” however it’s smooth and peaceful just to set you in a place so that you can relax and cool out. Music is quite soothing. (3.5 of 5 stars)
Track 4 (Starlight Express) A uptempo “boogie” groove that will wake you up after hearing “Free to Fly.” A nice feel good song. (4/5 stars)
Track 5 (Soft Rain) This is a remix version, the original is featured on Paul Hardcastle’s “The Chill Lounge Vol.2” both versions are my favorites. “Soft Rain” is my overall favorite song on “The Jazzmasters VII” plus Rock Hendricks saxophone work is off the chain though he doesn’t do a whole bunch of continuous playing, but his timing on “WHEN” to play is what sets this song off. (5/5 stars)
Track 6 (Domino Effect) Another smooth groove with Rock Hendicks rocking the tenor sax. Highway music at its finest. Nice groove. (4.5/5 stars)
Track 7 (Pulse of the Universe) This song was also featured on Paul Hardcastle’s “The Chill Lounge Vol.2.” A bit lackluster compared to the others that can lull you off to sleep like it did me. (3/5 stars)
Track 9 (Come On) Another favorite of mine. Hardcastle is swinging an old school 808 groove that kind of reminds me of his earlier material back in the 80’s only a bit slower and smoother yet funky. (5/5 stars)
Track 10 (Breathe) & Track 11 (Echoes of Eternity) are both a tad lull to me however just as “Free To Fly” the two songs are very relaxing and soothing while I like “Echoes of Eternity” better however if this is the kind of vibe you dig listening to then you won’t be dissatisfied. (3.5 Stars) & (4 stars).
Nevertheless “The Jazzmasters VII” is a MUST to own in your collection particularly if you appreciate the music of Paul Hardcastle, who is often imitated, but not in any way duplicated for there’s only ONE Paul Hardcastle.
A special note to Paul Hardcastle from the Music Columnist:
Dear Paul Hardcastle,
I acknowledge this is not the first time I addressed this issue to you and of course, it won’t be the last as long as you continue to produce albums/discs, however as a real fan of your music and countless fans like me that constantly help make your projects reach #1 year after year. I think you should give back to your fans by playing on tour particularly in the US. Many supporters like me have yet to see you perform live in concert (unless we see some old youtube footage). I’m informed that you are just a studio musician but please think about touring so you can give us a “real” show and if touring is out of the question contemplate leasing out an auditorium to make a “Live in concert” DVD this way we can view you performing all your classics. Please give this strong consideration since your music is enjoyed by many furthermore continue to make great music however as a fan I would be honored like so many other loyal supporters to see you perform live in person or on DVD…Your choice!
Seriously hoping to get a reply back from soon…Thanks!
1 Luv 🙂
Copyright 2014 – 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.