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. I am indebted to Edwina Goody for drawing my attention to an excellent new album from keyboard player Attila Molnar. Titled Dreams this tight twelve track collection is a noteworthy debut for a performer who, as well as playing keys in the touring bands of Jaared and Slim Man’s Bona Fide, is also an accomplished writer and producer. In fact for Dreams Molnar composes eleven tunes and produces throughout. The result is a welcome addition to this year’s crop of contemporary jazz releases.
Born in 1970, in a small Hungarian town near the Austrian border, Attila Molnar was the only child of musician parents. At six years of age, after experimenting with various instruments, he discovered keyboards and this fortuitous choice propelled him first into a prestigious jazz piano programme which was sponsored by the National Conservatory of Jazz and then later into a career as a professional musician. In 1997 Attila and his wife relocated to the USA where in 2005 he produced, co-wrote, and recorded the CD I Got Your Back for Toni Hutchinson. Subsequently, in 2008, Molnar auditioned for internationally acclaimed smooth jazz group Bona Fide and in so doing became the band’s keyboard player.
Dreams gets under way with the foot tapping ‘Attitude’ which proves to be an authentic slice of textbook smooth jazz. It’s a vibe that fits Molnar’s style to perfection and although ‘True’ provides more of the melodic same, the complex yet funky ‘Secret Place’ reeks with an understated but compelling urgency. ‘Close To You’ is a track that benefits from a restrained, hip swaying Latin rhythm and is in the good company of the retro tinged ‘La Isla Loca’ which evokes the musical excitement of the island of Puerto Rico.
‘Caribbean Eve’ started out as a previously unreleased Christmas number and the tranquil tone it injects is repeated with ‘My Daisy’ which is dedicated to Molnar’s wife. The tenderness of these tunes is in sumptuous contrast to the jazzy ‘What’s Going Down!’ and another change of pace delivers the introspective ‘Two Hearts’ that is memorable both for Molnar’s groove drenched keys and some wonderful sax from the always superb Jaared.
Starting out in mellow mode, the romantic title cut quickly develops into another great showcase for Molnar’s intricate playing whilst the album’s only cover finds him coming up with a tidy and totally appealing version of Roberta Flack’s 1974 stateside chart topper ‘Feel Like Making Love’. It is likely to make a mark as one of the best covers of 2010 and another personal favourite is the aptly titled ‘The Best’. This melodic mid tempo charmer says everything about what Attila Molnar is about.
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 May 27, 2010 11:48 PM