If there is one musician whose style typifies the sun soaked vibe synonymous with the city of San Diego it is guitarist Patrick Yandall. When in 2006 I reviewed his album ‘Samoa Soul’ I described him as having rhythm and melody pumping through every vein of his body and his 2008 follow-up ‘Laws Of Groovity’ provided further evidence of his distinct southern Californian groove. Now, with his latest project, ‘A New Day’, he has surpassed himself with a wonderful collection of eleven self penned tracks that is jam packed with some of the best contemporary jazz you will hear this year.
Yandall’s music engenders enormous enjoyment and the mid tempo magic of ‘Urban Flight’ is smooth jazz at its immaculate best. In this respect it is in the good company of the superb ‘If You Love Me’ and, whereas the sexy ‘Do You Feel’ allows Yandall to slip effortlessly into tranquil mode, ‘Pistons Stomp’ finds him firmly on funk enriched soil. It’s a tune that from melodic beginnings drives to a compelling crescendo while the tight and wholly ‘in the pocket’ ‘I Am There’ shimmers with excellent horns from Jeff Laasko and the Kickass (yes, that’s right, Kickass) Brass Section.
Yandall also takes time out to pay his respects to some of the musicians who have touched his own musical development. He dedicates ‘The Path’ to Carlos Santana and, despite the fact his playing is totally indicative of this legendary guitarist, Yandall still makes the tune entirely his own. The Larry Carlton inspired ‘LC Squared’ is a sheer delight yet perhaps the most poignant of Yandall’s tributes is that dedicated to the late Carl Evans Jr. Appropriately titled ‘Mr. Fattburger’, this beautifully structured number provides a fitting homage to the co-founder and keyboard player of the San Diego based band that, in the late eighties, did so much to shape the then emerging smooth jazz genre.
The decidedly retro sounding ‘Full Force’ fizzes along on a jazzy beat and, as Yandall switches to keys, he perfectly evokes the sound of jazz fusion circa 1980. The first single to go to radio is the R & B influenced title track. With a delicious brass driven groove, and Yandall’s tight playing, this cut is a real winner yet just as good and taking us right back to where this review began, ‘Sun Diego’ says it all about Yandall and the city in which he resides. With sunshine dripping from every note, and a horn infused feel good factor that is off the scale, this is what it’s all about.
‘A New Day’, which will be released nationwide on March 3, is a total joy and the perfect antidote to these credit crunched times in which we all currently live.
For more go to www.patrickyandall.com