Not heard Will Donato yet? Well, maybe you have. This rising sax star has appeared on the soundtrack to movies such as Thelma and Louise, The Untouchables and The Wedding Planner. Now his brand new CD, ‘Will Call’ is set to catapult him into center stage and add to the already considerable jazz credentials he has established courtesy of performing with the likes of Jeff Caruthers, Blake Aaron, Gregg Karukas, and Steve Oliver. In fact it was Donato’s signature sound which helped light up Oliver’s 2002 hit single ‘High Noon’ and its nice that for ‘Will Call’ Oliver is around to repay the favor.
In fact the album features a number of enticing collaborations. Blake Aaron pops up to add his guitar finesse to several of the tracks and is particularly effective on the atmospheric ‘Highway’. With visions of speed fragmented by blinding tail lights this earthy tune is music to drive at night by and Donato stays firmly in urban mode for ‘Wanting’. It offers him the opportunity to add some delightful touches on flute and the entire cut is superbly anchored by the bass of Melvin Davis. Donato’s predominately instrumental cover of the Dramatics 1971 smash ‘Watcha See Is Watcha Get’ features a typically ‘in the pocket’ guitar solo from Steve Oliver plus lashings of Donato’s big and funky sax. This is a number to which you will want to get down and boogie while in similar vein is ‘More Sway’. A funky groover that recalls the halcyon days of jazz fusion, the tune is written by Eddie Reddick who also plays bass and sings backing vocals. It’s an outstandingly good track but, in that respect, only one of many.
For example, with ‘Morning Noon Night’ Donato delivers an extremely atmospheric chunk of smooth jazz that is, maybe, the best track on the album. Built on a decidedly sultry vibe it shimmers with the superb use of peripheral yet stunning backing vocals.
In addition, who could fail to be captivated by Donato’s excellent rendition of the Spinners hit ‘I’ll Be Around’ and when he slips into mellow mode for the tender ‘Speak My Heart’ both Aaron, and Tony Zink, on guitar and piano respectively make significant contributions. Aaron also adds an attractive guitar solo to the album’s title track. Loaded with all the rhythm and groove you will ever need it’s in the good company ‘Tropica’ which happens to be the first cut to be selected for radio play. With catchy vocal backing, this pleasant mover reveals more excellent piano from Zink and Donato’s particularly cool sax.
Be under no illusion ‘Will Call’ is a seriously edgy example of contemporary jazz that despite its share of retrospectives is very much about the music of now. Donato proves this throughout and never more so than with his fresh take on the Chick Corea composition ‘Crystal Silence’ that was first recorded in 1972 by Corea’s band Return To Forever. It provides a fittingly moody conclusion to a collection that showcases to perfection the talents of Will Donato.
For more go to www.willdonato.com