Darren Rahn -- Once In a Lifetime

Once In a Lifetime is a smooth jazz gem that completely slipped under my radar, as it�s been around now for a year. Saxman Darren Rahn (who is actually quite the all-around musician, proficiently switching off to bass, keys, and drum programming when and where he deems it necessary) is joined here by some familiar heavyweights and fellow comrades in the form of Dave Koz, Wayman Tisdale, and Jeff Lorber. What they add to this already sassy project begs to be personally witnessed.

This young man has done wonders in terms of stepping in and implanting himself in this glorious arena of smoothness. His work can be heard on such smashes as Tisdale�s �Way Up,� �Ain�t No Stoppin� Us Now,� and �Get Down On It.� From what I hear, his headline performance at the 2006 Catalina Jazz Festival was of the stuff smooth jazzers crave. If this latest release is any indication of that, I�m a believer!

Thirteen of the 14 cuts here were written by Rahn (now, that�s originality in a form I can truly appreciate!), and the one cover, �Take My Breath Away,� is so masterfully undertaken that he can proudly claim the style as his own without reservation. From cuts so slick with groove and swagger like the opening track to the soulful, whispery, let-me-massage-your-soul pieces like �A Greater Love� and �Heartbreak� to funky movers like �On the Rebound� with Tisdale�s tell-tale bass lines and the popping, melodic �Groove Du Jour� (perhaps my favorite--well, next to �A Greater Love� or maybe�oh, you get the picture).

The deeper you go into this album, the more difficult it becomes to pull away, as each cut is just a delectable precursor to the next. Rahn has tapped into something musically special here�himself. Grab a listen.