One of the mixed blessings of being an in-demand sideman is struggling to carve out enough time to pursue solo projects. Since breaking out in the smooth jazz world after a lengthy sideman career (Deborah Gibson, Freddie Jackson, Angela Bofill) with 2000's Foreward, which earned him a Best New Artist nomination from the National Smooth Jazz Awards, Jaared has only had one other release (Hangtime) while being most familiar to genre fans as guitarist Peter White's right-hand man; his other major genre credit was as a featured performer on Maximum Grooves' Grammy-nominated Coast to Coast. Addiction, his debut on Trippin N Rhythm, was another shot at establishing him more as his own artist, and the spirited grooving and catchy melodies throughout will definitely inspire, well, addictions from genre listeners looking for sounds that are fresh and cool. Jaared is not reinventing the wheel, but he keeps them spinning joyfully from the get-go on the disco-fied, hard-thumping alto tune "Piccadilly Circus," which features a chorus pairing his edgy horn sound with Norman Brown-like vocalizations. Adding his voice elsewhere -- as on the jumpy soprano gem "That's Alright" and especially "You Like Me Don't You," on which he sings a lovely, soulful lead vocal -- helps this collection stand out from the sax pack. His other trademark vibe is a keen ability to texture horns in all the right spots, and he's aces as a collaborator, writing and playing with labelmate and keyboardist Oli Silk and with the lush guitar of genre star Steve Oliver on the sensuous, easily rhythmic soprano ballad "Jamaican Winds." Jaared's picture-perfect blend of groove, melody, edge, and exotica makes this disc one of 2008's best smoothies.
|Label:||Trippin & Rhythm|