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Once In a Lifetime

Darren Rahn

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Album Review

This funky Colorado-based saxman made some huge behind the scenes contributions to the smooth jazz genre prior to recording this picture-perfect breakout date that features key contributions by genre stars Wayman Tisdale, Jeff Lorber and Dave Koz. In addition to playing dates as a sideman with guitarist Tim Bowman and keyboardists Gregg Karukas and Brian Culbertson, his expertise as a producer led to a few of the format's biggest airplay hits of 2005-2006. He produced and played on "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" for Tisdale, then hooked up with saxman Eric Darius for six tracks on Darius' Just Getting Started album. Darren Rahn also produced half of Tisdale's Way Up! album, and did a special remix of Jonathan Butler's "Mandela Bay" for release as a radio single. The perfect balance of raucous up-tempo groovers, mid-tempo toe tappers and soothing ballads on Once in a Lifetime ensured that Rahn would gain notoriety as an artist as well. The appropriately titled "Breakin' Out" (featuring Lorber's trademark retro vibes on Fender Rhodes) bounces along mightily, features irrepressible multiple horn hooks, and includes a moment to show some chops. That retro vibe infuses most of the tracks here, from the thumpin' "Groove Tonight" to the seductive "Side Steppin'." And Rahn knows how to turn on the charm and turn down the lights on cuts like "A Greater Love." Fans of his work with Tisdale gravitated to the duo's "On the Rebound," whose title is more than a sly wink to the bassist's status as an ex-NBA all-star. And speaking of duets, Rahn and Koz tap into their gentle soprano side for the sweet, sensitive closing title track.

Once In a Lifetime, Darren Rahn
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