Dominic Amato is yet another of the up-and-coming young smooth jazz artists with powerful charisma and skill combined with an uncanny sense of what this music is really all about: character, soul, and intense groovability. The young saxophonist has apparently been able to wrap his head and heart around this concept and exhibits this understanding boldly and brightly on his debut release, Fresh From the Groove.
Grammy award-winning producer/composer/keyboardist Michael Broening joins in the celebration of this maiden voyage for the young talent, along with bassist Mel Brown and guitarist Freddie Fox (both of whom are instantly recognizable as serious, personified vibes in the business).
The collection of material here shows that Amato and Broening are no strangers to finely sculptured hooks, effects (e.g., the talkbox makes an appearance on “Greezy,” a slinky, funky, tight piece), and diversity in style (check out the rhythmic Caribbean flavor of “Jamaica,” one of my top cuts here). For the romantic, you will find “Still With You” (another fav of mine) a sweet and apropos title for a soulful and seductive tune that , if you pay close attention, sounds like the whisper from one lover to the other, professing his or her commitment and undying love for the fortunate mate. The intensity yet softness is there, the unseen yet felt gaze is there, the bond that was perhaps formed a long while ago still holds as firmly as ever. Yeah, you hear all of that in this piece. When an artist can take you there, he or she has truly arrived.
There are plenty of other examples of how successful Amato should be in reaching his listeners with this project. The chilled “Jazzy’s Flow” will certainly strike a chord (no pun intended) with most, as will the up-tempo “Out The Gate,” and two other sweet and soulful journeys entitled “Letsjustchill” and “Myluvsounds Juslikethis (For Wifey)”—more talkbox action on the latter. All in all, a great first effort for an artist whose work promises more of the same (or even better) in future endeavors. Welcome, Dominic!Posted by Ronald Jackson at April 15, 2009 7:01 PM