From the first few bars of the opening groove of Tale of Two Cities, I was hooked on the production employed on this recording. The last time I had a reaction like this regarding studio production was while first listening to Saxophonic, another wonderfully recorded, produced and mastered work by Dave Koz. Darren Rahn definitely has production skills in his own right!
We get to hear a bit of Rahn’s alto in octaves with his more familiar tenor on Free to Be Me. His alto sound seems a bit more present, again perhaps as a result of the micing and mixing process. Both alto and tenor sounds suit Rahn’s compositions well.
One gem on Secret Crush is the noticeably realistic and unpolished acoustic piano sound on Lorber’s acoustic piano solo. The micing on the acoustic piano provides a favorable contrast to the smooth and polished drum tracks and studio tricks.
In addition to keyboards and percussion, Darren Rahn shows he has a formidable grasp on soprano saxophone on With You By My Side featuring guitarist Tim Bowman.
Forget Me Nots is a stylistically faithful cover of the 80s (or was it late 70s?) dance hit. I hate to admit it but I remember playing that original tenor solo note for note in a cover band around 1982. Rahn puts his own twist on the open solo here. With about 20 seconds left in the tune he ventures into the familiar altissimo of the opening to the original solo.
Darren Rahn also covers Hall and Oats I Can’t Go For That on Talk of the Town. In this case, unlike the true and faithful Forget Me Nots, Rahn offers an edgier, funkier twist on another 80s classic.
Tell Me What You Want offers a more relaxed, funky groove. Fans of Steve Cole will enjoy this one as I feel it has a similar pocket and feel to many of Cole’s “Side B” cuts.
Lastly, Our Love leaves the listener with a soulful and chilled out ballad. Here again Rahn’s production values transform a good song to great.
The grooves on this recording are infectious and warrant multiple listenings in order to digest the many layers of delightful ear candy. I intend to do just that. Talk of the Town is perfect to listen to while driving to the gig, running on the treadmill – or even cleaning the studio! I suggest any fan of smooth jazz saxophone check out Darren Rahn and his newest release Talk of the Town.