In this present day world of diminishing returns in finding good quality music to listen to, it is quite refreshing to know that jazz continues to thrive and exist in some form or the other. In my mind, the latest CD from the group Solar Wind is one of those rare events where excitement is an intensely popular musical jazz offering.
'Blue Horizon' is Solar Wind's latest release, and it serves up a rare combination of fusion, soft effects and deep bass vibes. In addition, the music generates a high degree of anticipation throughout the CD, due in part to the multi-faceted dynamics associated with the release. Ramroded by bassist Sean Mason, this band of merry men carries listeners on a fusion activated sound energy ride to jazz utopia. With assistance from Eric Marienthal, David Benoit and Frank Gambale, this CD plays large and is definitely ear candy at its sweetest. In fact, if you listen carefully, you will hear the influences of Chick Corea's Weather Report and Elektric Band all rolled into one. Other factors attached to 'Blue Horizon' also add an even greater degree of appeal. This effort is three parts fusion, one part smooth jazz and an added touch of funk and lightly colored ambiance for flavor. Mix well with mild-mannered acoustics for effect, and you then have Solar Wind in a neatly wrapped sound package of delight. Trying to define or categorize this group's music is no easy task. The best you can hope for is a descriptive word to say "I LIKE THESE GUYS."
Solar Wind hails from Los Angeles, California, and their main musical focus is etched in fusion and contemporary jazz. They blend these active ingredients with other musical influences, which may include New Age and National Adult Contemporary stylings. When I first became acquainted with these guys, I thought I would be listening to another group of smooth jazz clones. After 11 tracks of beautifully crafted jazz of a uniquely different flavor, I was hooked on what Solar Wind had to say. Having one previous release under their belt, this second effort is sure to be one of the jazz highlights of 2003. Mason's exploits on bass are reminiscent of the heydays of Jaco Pastorius and Stanley Clarke, especially on his pinpoint riffs and improvised rhythms. If this is only the second outing from Solar Wind and company, we can expect the jazz world to be refreshed for a long time to come. Upon listening to these guys, you too will hear seasoned veterans at work and play.