Smooth Jazz Therapy has followed the career of guitarist Patrick Yandall since 2006 and the release of his excellent CD ‘Samoa Soul’. In fact this San Diego resident has been a solo artist since 1994 when he made his debut with ‘That Feels Nice’ and now, going on twenty years later, he is back with his fifteenth album, the decidedly tasty ‘Soul Grind’. Produced and engineered by Yandall (who also writes eleven of the fourteen (yes, fourteen) tracks) this is very much his own project and a resounding showcase for his art.
Yandall’s music is typified by an easy grooving San Diego vibe that is consistently to die for. In this respect the opening number, ‘My Lady’, is right up there while in similar mood is the totally charming ‘Sir Mango’ that is the sort of tune which originally got me (and thousands others) into smooth jazz.
Despite a mellow introduction, ‘It’s Time’ quickly takes on something of a Steely Dan attitude and, talking of Steely Dan, Patrick takes time out for a sumptuous reimagining of the band’s ‘Josie’. One of only three covers it is in the good company of a handsome take on the timeless ‘Human Nature’ and an immaculate rendition of Larry Carlton’s ‘Room 335’ from his 1977 self-titled debut. Yet, truth to tell, Yandall’s own compositions have enough in the tank to hold their own against the best.
Take for example the simply wonderful ‘Forever’ that simply oozes sunshine or the intricately expansive ‘More Than I Am’. Both explain why Yandall’s music has been recently finding its way onto the soundtracks of television shows and movies while elsewhere the shuffling beat of the mid tempo title cut is another song packed full of appeal.
Yandall shifts mood and gets funky for the rhythmic ‘Say Ow’. It’s sure to be a dance floor filler when he next plays San Diego hotspot Humphries Backstage Lounge and much the same could be said of the foot tapping, brass driven, ‘The Don’. He keeps things fizzing with the big band inclined ‘Bump This’ but as the intensity eases Yandall delivers the hugely reflective ‘Lay Me Down’.
Yandall closes out the collection with the atmospheric groove of ‘When Robins Fly’ and with the release date quickly approaching it’s not too early to book your place at the CD launch event that will take place at Spaghettini in Seal Beach, CA on September 13.