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Jigsaw Life

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Album Review

Even as he's dazzled audiences around the world with his high-energy soloing over the funky beats of U.K. jazz groove sensations Down to the Bone, Paul "Shilts" Weimar just wants to be known as "an approachable boy from London who wants to have a laugh...a cheeky cockney chappy." Whether he's leading the horn section in DTTB or doing his solo thing, part of the fun for the charismatic saxophonist is getting people up and dancing. If they're listening to him blow from the car stereo, no doubt they'll be up for some serious HeadBoppin, the name of his popular 2006 disc. Jigsaw Life keeps the groovage bouncing and builds on his passions for those infectious, in-the-pocket hooks and major blasts of funk energy as he celebrates a reunion of sorts. For this album, he signed back with NuGroove, the first label DTTB signed with and with whom they released their 1997 debut, From Manhattan to Staten. Story goes that he originally wrote the seductive, easy-flowing opener, "Piece by Piece," for Rick Braun and Richard Elliot, two of the owners of his previous label, ARTizen. Their failure to record it allows it to be a playful retro-soul free for all for the composer, who tackles the dual horn vibe by doubling his trademark tenor with his little-heard soprano. He doubles both horns again, to sizzling effect, on the blazing yet (in passages) sensual "Listen Up" and employs their dual sound more tenderly on the sweet romance "A Promise Is a Promise." Both horns also grace "Broken Silence," which balances an overall punchy and percussive, bluesy flavor with segments that blend acoustic guitar soloing (by Randy Jacobs) and classical/symphonic textures. On that track, Shilts has Bill Steinway on Hammond B-3, while the moody, old-schoolin' "Too Close to the Edge" finds the keyboardist dazzling on Fender Rhodes. Both convey a soulful and vibrant throwback to the days when organic funk ruled. There's also Rhodes behind the snazzy, brass-driven blowout "Ain't It Marvelous" and the rousing, clubby closer, "Time Gentlemen Please." Though Shilts' solo tracks are always more focused melodically than the jams associated with DTTB, the high-energy thumping "Back on the Hudson" perfectly captures that cool craziness; in fact, Shilts began performing it with his other band on a Spirit Cruise in New York. The Jigsaw Life concept makes for some cool cover artwork, but thankfully doesn't apply to the sparkling fun and funk on the collection itself — in fact, Shilts sounds more together and focused than ever on one of smooth jazz's best discs of 2008.

Jigsaw Life, Shilts
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  • 9,90 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, R&B/Soul
  • Released: 22 July 2008

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