THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE

Jaared--Manhattan Nights

After tantalizing his audiences with the vibrant 2008 release of Addiction, saxman Jaared, who’s always packed a soulful, to-the-gut wallop on his crystal clear sax, returns with a very Jaared-smooth, expressive,  and sexy release, Manhattan Nights, due for release on March 10.

Jaared’s style is always a well-balanced mix of the romantic and the intense.  Here, with a powerful guest lineup including Jay Soto, Freddie Fox, Cindy Bradley, Tim Bowman, U-Nam, Michael Broening, Mel Brown, and Greg Adams, he spotlights his tenor/alto/soprano sax stylings as he struts through all manner of smooth moods.  There are the jazzy and funky movers like “If You Know What I Mean,” “D’Groovealicious,” and the potent title track, as well as sensuous teasers like “That’s What She Said” and the slow, soulful “Love You All Night Long,” and moderate, exotically beautiful tracks like “Always Together.”  Also along for more than just the ride are a flavorful little Latin-tinged ditty called “No Nachos for Puppies”(which, I might add, is great advice) and the totally cool and swaying soprano sax offering, “Floating On a Breeze.”

There’s one thing about Jaared, who credits one of the masters of the beautiful melody, smooth jazz guitarist Peter White, with being his mentor:  This saxophonist definitely has a knack for milking a melody for all its worth and lacing it with much beauty and finesse. Witness, for example, the charm of the previously mentioned “Always Together,” (I think it’s safe to say that this is one of my favs), which features Thano Sahnas on acoustic lead guitar, and the equally lovely “Song for Dianne,” another soprano sax beauty, written by Michael Broening, who wrote or co-wrote with Jaared  the majority of the tracks here, by the way.
 
Manhattan Nights is generous, offering 14 tracks in all, and is robust and solid. Keep an eye and ear trained on this one. --  Ronald Jackson