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Chillin Out in Dark Places by Joe Blessett

 Joe Blessett makes an interesting case for going into the studio and doing your own thing.  His sixth release as a solo artist has him everywhere, laying down music tracks on several instruments, voicing over for effect, mixing, and even marketing his own product.  The result is a pastiche of music that runs from smooth to funk, and tracks that run in and out like a fever dream. 

He's certainly an individualist, and has his own take on creating music.  Classifying his music is pointless, because he eclectically combines several styles as the mood suits him.  He describes it as "a private library of music," a sort of personal soundtrack from his head.  Some tracks sound very much along the lines of smooth jazz, while others are more funky, with electronics and vocals making a case.  In a few places, he is closer to dance music, going heavy on the electronic side with a strong beat.  Whichever way he turns, he quickly changes his direction, flowing from mood to mood.  The overall effect is of the artist searching for something, a restless, ethereal quality that some may find intriguing, and others a bit annoying.  Stay put for a minute.

"What's Your Secret" features some unidentified guest vocalizations by a woman apparently having a good time, along the lines of the sounds Meg Ryan made in the restaurant scene in "When Harry Met Sally."  As the woman at the adjacent table said,
"I'll have what she's having."  Several other tracks also have female voices repeating phrases, fading in and out, acting much like the instruments Blessett includes.  These are often in the more funky, electronic tracks.  Sax dominates on the smoother pieces.  Blessett has a fine sound on the sax, one that sings and cries, sometimes wails or has a ghostly feel, but is never weak and is always spot on.  

If you're looking for musical eclecticism that combines styles in unique ways, Joe Blessett may just be your ticket to a different sound experience.  But don't look for him at your local club.  He is apparently a studio-only artist.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Joe Blessett
  • CD Title: Chillin Out in Dark Places
  • Genre: Smooth Jazz
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Record Label: Self-Produced
  • Tracks: Chillin Out in Dark Places, Tell Me Something, Help Me Pray, Better Days, Slayers and Players, What’s Your Secret, Deep Dish Grind, Morning After, Taking a Pause, Friends, Wine & Good Times, Scotch & Water Please, Dark Places, Honey Hush Cafe (bonus track)
  • Musicians: Joe Blessett (Saxophone, guitar, bass, keyboards, electronics, vocals)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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