quaint little rutted bucket

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Album Highlight: Aaron Neville's "Nature Boy"

That's it for smooth jazz. I'm not buying any smooth-jazz inspired albums anymore. Why? For one thing, it sends me into a semi-tranced state that leaves me unnecessarily starry-eyed and affectionate, even without an object of affection. :))

Seriously, Aaron Neville was an accidental discovery that I have more than been grateful for. (KC, thanks a lot! If it hadn't been for the [unnecessary] trip we made to Greenbelt 3, I couldn't have stumbled across this in the listening area of Music One. :) For starters, this is my very first album from this mystical, 60's music virtuoso. I have heard of his distinctly unique crooning voice before, but it was only now that I learned of him: Aaron Neville.

Aaron Neville is another child of New Orleans, a city known for its music-inspired culture. Born on the 24th of January 1941 to a family that made its living on making music, his first big break was in the mid-60s, after releasing "Tell It Like It Is," a ballad that is up to now, still considered a pioneering classic in the American pop scene. After traversing several decades of producing decidedly good music in a myriad of genres like country and gospel, his career eventually turned to jazz--where his voice was highlighted even further.

Now making a comeback in "Nature Boy", Aaron Neville's new album opens an interesting chapter in the life of this musical wonder. While some of his older fans deride it for being on the slow side of things (Funny, that was the first thing that drew me to the album), or for doing another act with Linda Ronstadt, or even because its based largely upon the Great American Songbook, this album is close to perfection. Coupled with the harmonious symphony of jazz guitar and piano, bass, brasswinds, Aaron's crooning virtually enshrines him among the pantheon of legendary jazz acts.

Neville and Linda Ronstadt's rendition of "The Very Thought of You" is perhaps the loveliest rendition I've heard of it yet. "Summertime", another revival, is given a luscious opening flavor at the start of the album. And, unlike other albums released of late, this album grows on you: as the album plays longer, the more you get to appreciate Neville's work. Another positive point is simply the excellent line-up of songs in this album, especially towards the end. The irony of it all is that, personally, the only thing I dislike is this album's carrier single, "Nature Boy", as I find it too... morose. :)) (Maybe I'll appreciate it after few listening sessions.)

While this album nearly drained my honeypot of any funds (LOL. I'm almost clear of money now... :) this is perhaps the best album purchase I made lately, rivaled only by another jazz album purchase I made a couple of weeks ago, "Something's Gotta Give's" Soundtrack.

Overall, Aaron Neville's work doesn't disappoint. Older fans can find great joy in release this, as well as young, fresh jazz music newbies like me. Two thumbs up.

Overall Rating: 10/10 (w00t! Perfect! :)

Interested in him? Read more about Aaron Neville and "Nature Boy" here.


Post a Comment

<< Home