Monday, March 16, 2009

Winds of Change - Denis Poole - Smooth Jazz Therapy

Airborne ‘Winds of Change’ is more than a recording, it is a rallying call for change and hope throughout the world.

The brand new album from New Haven, CT based Airborne is entitled ‘Winds Of Change’ and much of the publicity surrounding it makes clear that the title, compositions, and even the emotion of the project was inspired by the bands concern for world events. The implicit assertion, irrespective of faith, race, color or wealth, that together we can make this earth a better place is beyond dispute and in articulating this harmonious message Airborne has delivered nine wonderfully uplifting tunes which can be fairly described as some of the best smooth jazz to be heard this year.

‘Winds of Change’ is Airborne’s 6th CD and each subsequent release has demonstrated the growing confidence the band has in its own music and the diversity Airborne is never afraid to display. Although the 2005 album ‘Heavy Vibes’ was replete with top notch old school jazz fusion this, in the main, has been displaced by the world rhythms that permeated much of their 2007 project ‘Turbulence’ and the first rate contemporary jazz which exemplifies ‘Winds of Change’.

However, invariably through all of this has been the superb vocals of Elizabeth Dellinger that are at the core of all Airborne’s best moments and writing credits which continue to be predominately shared between band members, brothers Greg and Thomas Borino, and Thomas Sansone.

The feel good motif of ‘Winds of Change’ is beautifully demonstrated by the optimistic happy vibe of the title track. Reminiscent in part of Bob James’ ‘Sign Of The Times’ it features the sort of high quality backing vocals from Dillenger that fans of Airborne have routinely come to expect. When the track is later reprised as a backdrop to a series of inspirational sound bites Dillenger remains just as good and she returns to add her sparkle to the ‘party ready’ ‘Calypso Night’.

Thomas Sansone contributes excellent flute to the jazzy ‘Magic In The City’ where Thomas Borino on keys is also in fine form and his brother Greg takes the honors on guitar with the energetically up tempo ‘All Tied Up’. Sansone switches to sax for the deliciously evocative ‘Spanish Guitar’ and when the musical spotlight shifts from Europe to South America it’s the lovely shuffling Latin beat of ‘Brazilian Praise’ that affords Randy Bost the opportunity to shine on trumpet.

‘Just One Night’ is a superb slice of smooth jazz for which the entire band plays a part and in similar vein is ‘Rising Higher’. This brass enriched number is real ‘stadium jazz’ while the more studied ‘Better Days Ahead’ has a fine ‘in the pocket’ groove and more excellent guitar from Greg Borino.

Through the years a feature of Airborne has been its cohesion and the way the lead is generously shared between the players. ‘Winds of Change’ offers all of this and a chance to experience the work of a passionate group of musicians who obviously enjoy every second of what they do.

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