Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a personal perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. Mega talented songwriter, producer and multi instrumentalist Darren Rahn has come up huge with his latest CD Talk Of The Town. His third solo project after Once In A Lifetime and Soulful its nine original compositions, coupled with three of the best covers you will hear this year, are certain to enable him to seize the spotlight and further enhance the already burgeoning reputation of nuGroove Records.
Darren Rahn hits the ground running with the opening cut, the staggeringly good ‘Tale Of Two Cities’. It confirms, if confirmation is indeed required, that he does groove drenched smooth jazz as well as anyone on the scene today and with ‘Free To Be Me’ there is more of the delectable same. Here the playing of Rahn is nothing short of spine tingling and he is helped in no small part by the always excellent Jeff Lorber who makes telling contributions on acoustic piano and moog synthesizer. Lorber sticks around to lend a hand for Rahn’s urban tinged ‘Tell Me Want You Want’ but perhaps is at his best with the sensuously smoking ‘Secret Crush’ where his solo on acoustic piano is breathtaking.
In part, it was with Wayman Tisdale that Rahn made his name as a ‘go to’ producer for work on the albums Way Up and On The Rebound. His collaborations with Jay Soto, Eric Darius, Dave Koz and Tim Bowman have been equally memorable and both Tisdale and Bowman repay the favor by joining Rahn on ‘Talk Of The Town’. Tisdale is at his unmistakable best for Rahn’s controlled cover of Chaka Khan’s 1981 blockbuster ‘What Cha Gonna Do For Me’ while ‘With You By My Side’ finds Bowman in melodic guitar interplay with Rahn’s sexy sax.
Of course, when not pursuing his increasingly successful solo career, Rahn is very much part of the band De’Nate. He recently joined what previously was the pairing of keyboard player Nate Harasim and vocalist Deborah Connors after playing a part in their debut CD Reminsce. The duo make a memorable appearance on ‘Talk Of The Town’ for Rahn’s outrageously off the chain rendition of Patrice Rushen’s seminal ‘Forget Me Knots’ which appears destined for inclusion in the Secret Garden top ten covers of 2009.
The horn driven title track benefits from Rahn’s own fabulous playing and he is joined for this deliciously in your face number by his brother Jason on trumpet and flugelhorn. Jason Rahn also features on the equally brass infused ‘Duplicity’ whilst in complete contrast is the tender ‘Our Love’. This turned down gem really flows and, although Rahn finds time for a cool cover of the Hall & Oates smash ‘I Can’t Go For That’, perhaps the biggest surprise in an album chocked full of them is the superb ‘Easy Does It’. Warm and comforting it comes complete with an infectious hook, picture perfect playing from Rahn and the wonderful spectre of the legendary Bob James rolling back the smooth jazz years with a truly memorable piano solo.
Talk Of The Town is a magnificent piece of work and comes highly recommended. For more go to www.darrenrahn.com
Do you have any comments on what you have found in this edition of the Secret Garden? If so please e-mail me on DenisPoole2000@Yahoo.com.Posted by Denis Poole at March 5, 2009 3:45 PM