Smooth R&B/soul has a new recruit. The silky keyboard swells of Jason Peterson DeLaire, whose vocals have the placid feel of Marvin Gaye and the cool funk rouching of Ben Harper. DeLaire’s debut album In My Life is powered by vintage soul and leave modern R&B carbon footprints that show the heart-felt ardor or Teddy Pendergrass and the dreamy funk-jazz flaccidity of Gail Jhonson. Produced by DeLaire and working with a sparse crew that includes Billy Peterson on bass guitar, Paula Atherton on saxophones and Mico Wave on additional vocals, In My Life moves at a cruising speed set on easy listening cylinders showing a likeness to Prince in the title track and a gentleman swagger reminiscent of Marvin Gaye in "Never Enough." DeLaire immerses himself in R&B/soul’s pâté with an icing of dance-pop grooves. In My Life is more than DeLaire’s debut into music, it is a model of modern R&B/soul with smooth jazz wing-tips and club funk boot-straps.
In addition to singing, composing, producing, and playing the keyboards, DeLaire also plays the saxophone, which generates neatly placed kinetic explosions along the funky grooves of "Last Call," a number that was written by DeLaire and Schuyler Deale. The songs are all original tunes with DeLaire’s keyboards giving them a glossy finish and a dance-pop flare. The handclapping beats of "Special Lady" work in tandem with DeLaire’s flirtations vocals as a velcro of shooting synth effects add to the image of foreplay making rivets in the smooth soul bedding and moving in spellbinding formations.
The consoling glint in the slow burning torches that fire up along "We Can’t Go On" stir the listener’s want to find compatibility in a lover, while DeLaire’s vocals gently cradle the words of "Living With A Broken Heart" being showered in smooth soul spray-mists that show a resemblance to Boyz II Men. The fairytale tones of "True Love" have a garden fresh texture planned out in a sequence of massaging strokes. Written by DeLaire and David DelHomme, the music is reminiscent of the Disney theme song "When You Wish Upon A Star," while other tracks have a dance funk spark in them like "I Need Your Love" and "Gotta Keep The Funk Alive," which are ignited by the urban-pop pivots of DeLaire’s keyboards.
DeLaire’s album takes audiences back in time to the dance-funk-soul amalgams of the 80s while simultaneously moving R&B/soul forward in time. Born and raised in Minneapolis, DeLaire was weaned on the city’s urban-funk sound and spurred on by his own attachment to R&B/soul riders. Having played as a sideman for Prince and Michael Bolton, J.P. DeLaire imprints his own lettering on R&B/soul and gives the genre a splash of contemporary hues, which enliven its bouquet and garden-fresh feel.