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Rode the “T” into town.

Warmer weather is upon us and there’s much to tell about “Blue” Lou Marini, The Billy Z Memorial Concert, Lessons by Email, Lessons by ShedCam and a visit to Emilio Lyons in Boston. As usual, there are also new transcription samples, Tools in the Shed and Cd Reviews to share. Read on to find out more…


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Dominic Amato – Fresh from the Groove

 Dominic Amato’s Fresh from the Groove is his newest release on nuGroove Records. Amato is a relative newcomer to the smooth jazz scene and is best known for his work on alto saxophone and EWI (Electronic Wind Instrument). Amato is joined by Grammy award winning producer Michael Broening and a cast of rhythms section players including guitarist Freddy Fox.  Broening and Amato share most of the writing credits here with Broening also programming and playing keyboards.

I first became aware of Dominic Amato’s alto saxophone and EWI playing while channel surfing one evening. Amato appeared as a guest musician on BETJ’s Studio Jams. The show pairs musicians from diverse backgrounds in a studio setting. The group of musicians then decides what to play, working out the arrangements in front of the cameras in their native studio setting. I am a fan of the show and was also favorably impressed with Amato’s abilities.

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Talk of the Town – Darren Rahn

 Saxophonist and producer Darren Rahn has once again stepped out front with his new release Talk of the Town on nuGroove Records. Rahn recently had three consecutive #1 productions on the R&R smooth jazz charts. In this same capacity he has worked with Dave Koz, Eric Darius and Tim Bowman.

Rahn’s Talk of the Town featured Rahn on soprano, alto and tenor saxophones as well as keyboards and percussion. In addition to his regular bandmates, he is joined by smooth jazz icons and top session players Bob James, Jeff Lorber, Wayman Tisdale and Tim Bowman.

This recording is my first known exposure to Rahn’s playing and producing although we’ve all likely heard his mastery from the mixing booth. Here, his tenor saxophone playing is bright and clear and not without influence. That said, Rahn’s sound is unique. You can hear a similar approach as many of his contemporaries however his sound is not as heavy and bottom-ended (is that a word?) as some. The notably thinner, more transparent sound may be more a reflection of the studio production values rather than the acoustic sound of Rahn’s horn. Whatever the case, there is something reminiscent of Tom Scott’s timeless approach.

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