Best Of The Batch: Paul Thomas Yoder
Artist: Paul Thomas Yoder
You have to love men like Paul Thomas Yoder. He goes to work every day just like you and me so he can support his other career, music. When I read about him and found this out, he had my respect without even listening to the music.
Dreamin’ is Yoder’s new release. The CD kicks off with the title track and as you would expect, it starts things off with energy and gets your attention, which is the main objective. Yoder sings like a lion on the prowl and maintains that high energy level throughout the album. This caught me off guard because when I looked at the CD cover, I was picturing an all-instrumental jazz excursion and what I ended up hearing was an assorted mixture of genres.
This is a solid recording; most of the tracks are exceptional. “Black Cat, Black Hat” is a smooth funky jazz workout. Yoder and his mates stretch their musical wings to make this an instrumental delight. “Sadness” puts the spotlight on the man of the hour, Yoder. His trumpet playing is superb. The track reminded me of something Herb Alpert would do; obviously, Alpert is an influence, except it is funkier with an upfront bass sound courtesy of Michael Hakes and its very cool. “True Faith” is a real jazz fusion rocker featuring some blistering guitar licks from Brian Price, who is very versatile and adaptable throughout the album. To make it complete and give each track some layered substance, Kim Hansen performs on the keys admirably.
I felt 50/50 about the covering of “Broken Wings.” It was nice to hear that ‘80s tune again; however, Yoder falls short with his vocals. However, and it came as no surprise, the music is fantastic. That is the only flaw that I could find in the entire album, actually, so for this listener, that is a darn good ratio.
I really enjoy jazz rock fusion and Dreamin’ is a fine effort that deserves a good listen from any lover of jazz. Yoder is going to end up with one full time job soon if he continues to improve and put out good music like this.
1. Dreamin' (5:33)
2. Sadeness (5:14)
3. True Faith (4:14)
4. Black Cat, Black Hat (4:01)
5. Walkin' On The Pier (4:45)
6. Cruisin' 4-A Fusion (4:42)
7. Hypnotize (4:54)
8. Stand Back (4:45)
9. Broken Wings (5:08)
Paul Thomas Yoder-trumpet, flugel horn, vocals
Michael Hakes-rhythm, lead & bass guitars, drum programming, keys
Brian Price-rhythm & lead guitars, keys
Kim Hansen-keys & synths
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