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Darren Rahn – Sonic Boom

Apr. 17, 2016

Emerging from the studio with his first release since the smokin’ Speechless album four years ago, saxman Darren Rahn strikes the match, Darren Rahn CDand this party is ablaze again with a project called—appropriately—Sonic Boom, an effort loaded with plentiful amounts of funk, groove, and stellar sax work.

It may have been four years between projects for Rahn, his production/comping/performing work is more than evident on the projects of other smooth jazz luminaries such as guitarists Nick Colionne and Paul Brown and bassist Julian Vaughn, to name just a handful. Well respected for his grasp of the soul of smooth jazz, he is always in demand. Another solo effort at this time is a true treat for Darren Rahn fans and colleagues alike.

A deeply spiritual man with a big personality, he displays his abundant blessings here on Sonic Boom, surely to find its way atop the smooth jazz charts in no time.

Rahn is joined here by trumpeter extraordinaire Rick Braun, rising star keyboardist Jonathan Fritzen, and bassist Julian Vaughn, as well as the always dependable bassist Mel Brown and guitarist Allen Hinds.

There’s material here about which a hand can write and a mouth can speak, but the ears absolutely must bear testimony in order to place this effort in its rightful place. This is truly a bag of must-hear goodies.

This smoker leads off with the mid-tempo and melodic funk of “D-Luxe” and its well-arranged horn voicing — courtesy of Rahn, of course.
The sweet and reflective tribute to the late Wayman Tisdale, “Losing You (for Wayman),” featuring bassist Vaughn is so spot on and full of emotion and a sense that these guys desperately wanted to get it right in order to convey that deep sense of loss and respect. Mission accomplished.

Hats off to vocalist Rico Wint for providing his rich vocals on the smooth R&Bish “Together…Forever,” a track obviously written with his lovely wife Priscilla in mind. It’s a soul-sweet mid-tempo tribute to a love that’s obviously very deep. This is the kind of stuff that can bring the happy tears.

Check out the funky James Brown feel combined with great jazz runs on “Altered Ego,” featuring Robin Eubanks on trombone doing that instrument justice, a dynamic rhythm section, and Rahn swinging it on sax, synth, and the Hammond. Long Live JB!

Always consistent in quality, whether helping out someone else or cranking out his own project, Rahn rightfully deserves the admiration and respect he receives as one who delivers the goods every time. Witness this Sonic Boom for yourself. – Ronald Jackson