On one of 2008's most popular and dynamic urban contemporary jazz releases, the popular saxophonist made certain to live up to the lofty title of her previous outing, Life Less Ordinary. Aiming for those Stars, she expanded on the vocalizing she did on her earlier outings and wrote a batch of infectious songs that showcased her attractive vocals like never before. Five tracks -- nearly half the disc -- are adult contemporary pop songs that fit comfortably on the charts alongside John Mayer, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Sara Bareilles. It may have seemed risky to push the envelope after scoring a number one album, but her instrumental hits always showed that she was a popster at heart. Helping Abair and her guitarist/producer Matthew Hager realize her creative "outside the box" approach is a choice group of stalwarts from the pop world: keyboardist Ricky Peterson, drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr., and Richard Dodd, cello player for the Foo Fighters. With the media so immersed in reflecting the ongoing despair and difficulties of life around the globe in the 2000s, Abair's ultimate goal with her five vocal tracks is to bring light to the darkness, an unapologetic, optimistic sense of hope and idealism. Case in point: the lilting folk-pop tune "Change," written with frequent collaborator Tyrone Stevens, says that change is the one thing we can count on, and also the concept that can bring us all together. On the power pop title track ballad, she looks to the "Stars" as a connective thread between lovers who are far apart in physical distance. The Elton John/Lionel Richie-influenced "On and On" reflects wistfully on the innocence of her small-town youth (in St. Petersburg, FL) and the way music has become an integral spiritual part of so many people's lives. Her heartfelt, keyboard-driven anthem "I Wonder" is her generation's twist on the concept of "Imagine," while "Here for You" is an uplifting, autobiographical old-school soul-blues ballad that chronicles her incredible years-long friendship with Hager. These are smartly balanced by instrumentals that range from light and jangling ("Smile") to edgy, bluesy, and funky ("F.L.A. Swing").
Performance CreditsMindi Abair Primary Artist,Flute,Percussion,Piano,Keyboards,Saxophone,Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Vocals
Ricky Peterson Organ,Piano,Keyboards
Dwight Sills Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Richard Dodd Cello
John Taylor Acoustic Guitar
John Taylor Acoustic Guitar
Kenya Hathaway Background Vocals
Jason Steele Synthesizer Strings
Abe Laboriel Drums,Tambourine
Matthew Hager Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Percussion,Piano,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Tambourine,Background Vocals
Charlean Carmon Background Vocals
Shawn Davis Bass,Bass Guitar
Stephen Tirpak Trombone,Trumpet,Horn
Ryan Dankanich Baritone Saxophone
Technical CreditsBud Harner Management
Steve Sykes Engineer
Mark Wexler Executive Producer
Andi Howard Executive Producer
Mindi Abair Composer,Vocal Arrangements
Jason Steele Contributor
Matthew Hager Composer,Sound Effects,Producer,Engineer,String Arrangements,drum programming
Patty Palazzo Art Direction
Stephen Tirpak Horn Arrangements
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Stars based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
This was my first exposure to Mindi Abair, and it has me searching for more of her work! The album offers a pleasant mix of both vocals and instrumentals - there isn't once piece I don't enjoy hearing.
Supreme job Mindy! Found all tracks on the CD to be my favorites not just "Stars" which is not the case in many CD's purchased. Highly recommend it!
I stumbled across this album just looking for great music, not what is now popular and loved it...one of the best jazz musicians I have heard in a long time. This is the music you listen to at the end of a long hard day to just hear great music. The artist today should listen to real music today - I would and will buy her music now without hearing a note on it. There are very, very few artist around today. I could not find Michael Ward to recommend, that is also another great musician. Great work Mindi, please keep up the outstanding work.