February 11, 2013

Paula Atherton - Enjoy The Ride

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.

When in 2009 I reviewed Groove With Me from New York based singer, songwriter and woodwind player Paula Atherton I commented that this sensational collection had made her a major player on the contemporary jazz scene. It followed her 2004 debut recording Let Me Inside Your Love that made its mark on the national smooth jazz charts and provided the cut ‘I Long For Your Love’ for the compilation CD Ladies of Jazz which also featured Natalie Cole, Candy Dulfer and Eliane Elias. Now, after way too long, she is back with the delicious Enjoy The Ride.

Paula quickly makes up for lost time with the opening track, the immensely zesty ‘Herbie’, where on flute she gives a respectful nod to the legendary Herbie Mann. Later, when that modern day legend, the one and only Nick Colionne, enters the scene he adds some serious horsepower to the appropriately titled ‘Sassy Strut’ and another guest artist to be found strutting her stuff is rising star Cindy Bradley whose blistering trumpet contributes in no small measure to the Latin drenched ‘Rice And Beans’.

As well as being a wonderful sax player and flautist, Paula also has a singing voice with the power to captivate. She demonstrates this with the decidedly soulful ‘Wont Give Up’, the emotionally charged ‘Try It Again’ and again with ‘Let It Be’ that luxuriates in an easy groove and underlying message.

Yet perhaps best of all is the mellifluous ‘Cant Get You Out Of My Mind’ that proves to be the perfect vehicle with which to showcase her considerable vocal talent. When later she reprises the number in instrumental form the result is just as good and, although ‘Catch Me If You Can’ is a sumptuous slice of textbook smooth jazz, the hard driving ‘Turn it Up’ finds her packing in another powerhouse performance on sax.

For those of you who have yet to discover the magic of Paula Atherton there has never been a better time to start.

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 February 11, 2013 5:36 PM