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Darren Rahn — Speechless

Mar. 20, 2012

Hitmaker saxman Darren Rahn is at it once again, stoking the flames of creativity and stirring the juices of the some of the most alluring, smoothest, and funkiest contemporary jazz runs and grooves to grace the music lead sheets of the genre today. Here he belts out the naughty tracks of Speechless, his latest and celebrated return to the studio, a return much anticipated since his last release, 2009’s Talk of the Town.

One of the fastest rising stars in the biz, Rahn found respect quickly as he became a favorite of luminaries like Dave Koz and the beloved late Wayman Tisdale, producing smashes for both, as well as for guitarist Tim Bowman and saxman Eric Darius.

It’s little wonder why Speechless carries the firecracker punch it does. This album packs energy, power, passion, and even a glimpse back into the eyes of the late great gloved one, Michael Jackson (just listen to “Magical” and tell me that you get a sense of MJ ‘s energy driving this piece as vocalist Joshua sends it sailing over the moon).  Maxine Hardcastle’s sexiness and come-hither vocals on the title track leaves one just that…speechless.

With other contributors, including twin brother Jason on trumpet and acoustic guitar, his keys wiz pal Nate Harasim (who doubles on whatever else is needed from him), and the renowned flutist Najee, all lending a hand on this muscular exhibit of work, the oomph becomes almost overwhelming.

Rahn is truly a force with which to reckon, hands down, whether it be in the studio behind a production panel or in front of a mic with that blazing sax. This cat cuts the mustard every way it can be cut.  

O.k., so what track is the mightiest, you ask? Pick one. You’re all the way down to the track featuring the dynamic Dave Koz, “Flashback,” and the dancing hasn’t stopped, the groove hasn’t let up, the vibe is as thick as it was when you heard the opening track, “Wave of the Future.” Now, you’re listening to the settle-back, calm-down, collect-yourself finale, “The Healing,” as sweet, serene, and gentle as a summer night’s breeze. Different dance, same effect, much like the title track a few tunes back. You choose. With an album title like this, an artist would hope he or she can have an effect that will make it an appropriate title. Mission accomplished, Mr. Rahn. – Ronald Jackson