Like a jigsaw puzzle made up of oddly shaped pieces that when brought together reveal a complete picture, so too do the pieces that shape Paul "Shilts" Weimar’s life, hence the title of this third album Jigsaw Life. It’s his first album from NuGroove Records, the label that brought audiences the music of Down To The Bone, whom Shilts joined in the 90s and occasionally still plays the saxophone with live on stage. Since embarking on a solo career in 2001 with his self-released debut album See What Happens, Shilts has been creating a separate identity for himself and cemented his signature funk jazz style with his second record HeadBoppin’. His solo material allows him to fuse his creative ideas with his musical influences and music experiences from his past into the music of his present. From his stint as a saxophonist in the 80s soft rock band Breathe to being in the jazz-pop outfit Down To The Bone and performing as a backup player for urban funk artist Jamiroquai, Shilts brings many differently shaped bodies of work together, which only he knows how to make them into a complete picture that truly expresses himself.
The cauldron of smooth jazz and soft funk seasoning stirs a seductive brew that ferments into the tasty lager "Pieces By Pieces." Shilts’ music has the warmth of cool jazz and the bristling club jazz bam that is synonymous with music that depicts racy scenes in feature films. The excitement reaches a scintillating zigzagging in "Back To The Hudson" and then changes to a sophisticated swagger and cool cruising tempo along "Smile For Me," which features Weimar’s son Morgan giggling in the background. The Spanish-flavored guitar strokes of "Broken Silence" are glazed in celestial moving strings and romantically shaded horns while the R&B incense and funky grooves of "Too Close To The Edge" give the tune jolts of energy. The toasty warm raptures of "Listen Up" project a cozy island resort ambience and the sultry saxophone pumps of "Outside Of The Box" knead rollicking grooves along the juicy riffs. The fireside atmospherics of "A Promise Is A Promise" create a lover’s oasis, while the soft funky struts and rhythmic pumps of "Ain’t It Marvelous" and "The Gentlemen Please" have a cool jazz magnetism and sweet sounding rises.
The songs on Jigsaw Life are tuneful and rub the listener the right way. As smooth jazz instrumentals, the songs have riffs and sleek funk relatable to flutist Bradley Leighton and cool jazz grooming reflective of saxophonist Andrew Neu. Produced by Paul Weimar, Jigsaw Life is a collection of individual pieces which when linked together, they form a complete picture that bombards listeners with feel good vibes.