November 25, 2010

Gabriel - Told Ya So

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. Horn player Gabriel Mark Hasselbach, aka Gabriel, has joined forces with Jeff Lorber, Paul Brown, Marc Antoine and Darren Rahn for his brand new release Told Ya So. Predictably, the result is something quite special. Gabriel co-writes twelve of the songs with Miles Black (who plays keyboards, bass and guitar on each of them) another with Lorber and the collection is rounded off by the addition of one superb cover. Indeed the project brims with understated magnificence and has already garnered a nomination in the category ‘Album of the Year’ at the upcoming Wave Awards that will be held on April 29, 2011 in Ontario Canada. In addition it has led to Gabriel being nominated as Instrumentalist of the Year at the same event but, awards ceremonies notwithstanding, the legacy of Told Ya So will surely be in the quality of its music.

The restrained nature of the entire piece is a wonderful plus and is exemplified by a haunting version of the Temptations blockbuster ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’. Its positioning as the opening track really sets a mood that is replicated often and none more so than with the beguiling ‘Azure Moon’ for which Black on keys is excellent.

‘Told Ya So’ was produced by the pairing of Gabriel and Miles Black while Gabriel also had a hand in mixing, this time in partnership with the acclaimed Paul Brown. In fact Brown plays guitar on the easy grooving ‘Equate Her’ where his interplay with Gabriel is terrific. Undoubtedly one of the album’s best tunes it is in the good company of ‘Releasing’ where the input of rising star Darren Rahn on tenor sax adds hugely to this sultry cut.

‘Haranara’ proves to be a textbook example of mid tempo smooth jazz that shows every sign of becoming seriously addictive and when Gabriel is joined by Jeff Lorber for the controlled yet edgy ‘Rockin The Ribjoint’ it allows him to demonstrate his collective prowess on trombone, trumpet and flute. Truth to tell Gabriel multi tasks throughout and for ‘Beyond The Stars’ adds flugelhorn to his impressive repertoire. This turned down charmer says much about what ‘Told Ya So’ is all about and although ‘Peace Song’ has a light reggae infusion it remains completely in keeping with the album’s overall tranquil vibe.

The CD’s one vocal number is ‘How Long Is Forever’ which finds the soulful tones of Amanda Wood being perfectly complemented by Gabriel’s Latin tinged trumpet and although he takes a detour into jazz fusion for ‘The Road Less Travelled’ he is quickly back on mellow message for ‘That Look In Your Eyes’ which exudes a romantically smoky aura.

On those occasions when Gabriel does notch up the tempo the effect is as delightful as it is surprising. This is particularly so with the jazzy ‘Shake It Down’ where Rock Hendricks on sax makes a notable contribution but it when Gabriel slips back into reflective mode that ‘Told Ya So’ really delivers. The magically introspective ‘In Santo Quala’ features some truly beautiful playing from guitar maestro Marc Antoine but just shading it as S top track is the deconstructed but totally hypnotic ‘Pastels’. With Gabriel and Miles Black again sharing the honors, chilled out contemporary jazz doesn’t come better than this.

Told Ya So is a worthy addition to Gabriel’s already considerable discography and even though he has enjoyed protracted solo success in both Asia and Canada, it looks likely to elevate him to smooth jazz stardom.

For more go to www.gabrieljazz.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 November 25, 2010 10:50 AM