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. With Valentines Day right around the corner there could be no better time for Paul Hardcastle to release what has already been described as his most seductive recording yet. In fact Desire, which will hit the streets on February 14, is partly a response to the numerous requests he has received to release a compilation of his favourite slow tracks. However one of Paul�s gifts is his ability to surprise and even those of his fans who are entirety familiar with what is now a considerable discography will surely be captivated by the riches on offer.
In fact the title cut from Desire actually comes from his 2002 recording Hardcastle III. It sets the zone for what is to follow and as Hardcastle continues to raid his back catalogue, he bookends his �Jazzmasters series� with the timeless �Lost Summer� from the 1991 album Jazzmasters 1 and the sumptuous �Cloud Watching� from his 2010 project Jazzmasters 6.
Jazzmasters II and Jazzmasters III are revisited for �Wonderland� and �Lost In Space� respectively while the parallel �Hardcastle series� is also remembered both with �Forever Dreamin� from his 1994 offering Hardcastle 1 and �Closer� that can be found on the 2008 CD Hardcastle 5.
Given Paul Hardcastle�s consummate skill as a producer and mixer it is hardly surprising that each and every one of these tracks gel together seamlessly. However, that said, this is far from being simply a collection of �oldies�. The aptly titled �Valentine� was written by Hardcastle specifically for the Desires album and features vocals from daughter Maxine. For all the world it looks to be a sure fire radio hit and with her appearance on Nate Harasim�s current single �Different Kind Of Love� Maxine Hardcastle is really going places. She is also to the fore with the addictive �Smooth Jazz Is Bumpin� from the splendid 2005 release Hardcastle 4 and with �Same Place Same Time� Paul comes up with a real piece of buried treasure. Taken from his lesser known vehicle �Kiss The Sky� it features the superb Jaki Graham on vocals and in every respect is a real keeper.
Much the same can be said of the immensely soulful �Ready Or Not� that Hardcastle wrote back in the early nineties but which was never released. Here, with co-writer Steven Dante on vocals, the result is something very special and as Hardcastle utilises his �Ibiza Chill� mix of �Don�t You Know� to draw the collection to a chilled out conclusion, there can be no doubt, this could well be the most seductive CD ever made.
Desire is out on the excellent Trippin� N Rhythm label. For more news go to www.trippinrecords.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.