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Jonathan Butler – Living My Dream

June 16, 2014

When you listen to the uplifting and often soul-deep jazz/R&B/gospel style of the jubilant, bubbly South African icon of contemporary music, singer/songwriter/guitarist Jonathan Jonathan Butler CDButler, you can understand what he says about his latest project Living My Dream. Just as he has adopted the satisfying practice of gardening — growing tomatoes, bell peppers, sage, thyme, and other savory items – the artist has been cultivating a new mindset he dubs “the season of me.” From a musical perspective, that has brought this latest endeavor which boasts all original music that he produced and tracked in the L.A.-based House of Blues.

There is an inspiring story here in these tracks, one of a man having seen his share of struggles but always forging ahead to ultimately realize how very special he and his music are. As he says, “It’s one of those albums that I really didn’t think I had in me. I had been struggling, going through this emotional period…Once I got my wind and got back to a place of focus, it turned out to be the best experience for me I had to be vulnerable to the songs…These are all original compositions that came from the heart. It’s a classic Jonathan Butler album.” How very true.

Butler is joined here by bassist extraordinaire/composer Marcus Miller, the late great George Duke (on a gorgeous track “Be Still” where Duke provided Butler with some seriously reflective moments. “George taught me to connect first as friends before making music,” the guitarist offers), daughter Jodie, saxman Elan Trotman, bassist Dan Lutz, and a host of others.

From the colorful, “happy” lead track, “African Breeze” with all its the African exoticism to the reggae flavor of the cool up-tempo “Song for You” to the mellow, organ-and-horn-laced soulful “Catembe” (named for a place where Butler hopes to one day live in the Indian Ocean near Maputo), to the softly moving finale “A Prayer” and all points in between, this lovable artist of marvelous vision again bestows upon us the magic of his artistry. Living My Dream paints the very vivid picture of a man in absolute celebration of his life and music. – Ronald Jackson

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