Strength and Kindness Somebody Else’s Nightmare
Score: 4/5 Stars
This CD “Somebody Else’s Nightmare” by Northern California Fusion Jazz Project “Somebody Else’s Nightmare” is probably destined to be remembered as one of the classic good timing Smooth-Jazz CD’s of recent time from the Bay area. I’m an experienced listener of Jazz – and always skeptical as my standards set high. This is Jazz and so much more.
So who is Joe Holiday who made all of the aforementioned happen. In his own words: As the bandleader, my job is to develop a musical style, compose in that style and guide the interpretation of the compositions. The goal for this project was to perform music that was both written in “parts” and also meant for improvisation. “Parts” music is played by reading notes on a page; this can sometimes be complex and can require much concentration. It is found in many types of music, including classical, pop, musical theater, big band and more. The challenge is to make the music sound alive and fresh every performance even though the musician has performed it the say way hundreds of times. With Somebody Else’s Nightmare, some of the “parts” change from performance to performance – for example, some compositions demand that the musicians improvise their own melody. To do this, they must listen closely to what the others are doing and adjust. During performance, chord patterns might change. Also, I might cue in new sections while the piece is evolving, much like an audible called from the quarterback in football. In my mind, this is musical fun for both player and listener.
Now in my own words: He’s a songwriter/bassist who draws on life experiences from both the interior and exterior vantage point. His melodic narrative and sincere performances/profile offer an unobstructed view into the heart of an artist who embraces each moment. Looking at him he’s clearly a likeable personality and his music is a direct reflection of that. An album born from the Jazz Gods rock like Dave Koz, David Sanborn, Richard Elliot and Boney James “Somebody Else’s’ Nightmare” finds comfortable middle ground between the more tender vocal musings of lead off track “Destination Nowhere” to the powerful title track. From this electrifying intro number to the final moments of “Again Dawn” his latest 10 track release hits on all cylinders with a fun musical landscape full of power and happy go lucky overtones – with dynamic drum rhythms that are very easy to navigate thorough ironically. Some songs are about lost love no doubt while others are about life’s sweet victory in life. One thing that impressed me the most about this album/band is the sheer impassioned Blues-Funk-Smooth Jazz vibe one gets. There’s a slight Fusion-Big City uptown swagger in there as well. All of the above really sucks in the listener, but also hints of Funk and Blues based Fusion-Jazz is present as well.
The CD is professional grade any way you look at it – very professional sounding. The instrumentation and tones give you that genuine feel of good music and writing from a recent generation ago. It’s also sad Jazz is fading from the radio dial. It also has a solid feel reminiscent of more radio friendly Jazz popular in the nineties. All members in his band are solid musically. Kudos goes out to the amazing playing – the proof is in the playing and I’m confident Holiday could play in a high octane Fusion Jazz band like Return to Forever or Weather Report. In music said you can’t sell what you don’t truly believe, in this aspect Holiday seals the deal and captures some vintage lighting in a bottle via his amazing playing and singing touch that will ring true not only for older more experienced listeners but new ones as well.
My favorite tracks: Yard Full of Joes Worker Bees, title track.
“Somebody Else’s Nightmare” by Joe Holiday and the gang wraps up a well-rounded 10 track line-up that delivers an interesting cross section of Smooth Jazz, Funk, Blues and even a dash of Big City Jazz & Fusion. Once again – despite this it is accessible to modern day radio listeners as well. How is this possible? Only an experienced artist armed with an honest, genuine, sincere approach like Holiday can pull it off. Joe Holiday is a respectable singer as well. I know I said it before but Holiday is backed up by some solid players who are capable of a whole lot more outside this marketable format. Armed with solid production instincts, a sincere writer’s touch and a soulful gift for playing/singing/writing Parma proves once he’s a force to be reckoned with in this infectious musical realm.
Buy “Somebody Else’s Nightmare” – http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/somebodyelsesnightmare
by Seth Ridgway. Approved by Cyrus Rhodes