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Michael Paulo – Beautiful Day

June 24, 2018

If you’re truly c-jazz aficionado, the name Michael Paulo should certainly not be alien to you. This prolific Hawaiian saxman has been at his trade for more than 35 years, has several solo releases, and has shared the live stage with many of the who’s who in the business — often humbly contributing to their sets as a side musician. A most gracious and admirable personality, he is equally as effective on sax as he again demonstrates here on his latest offering Beautiful Day.

I have followed Paulo since long before I created The Smooth Jazz Ride, so taken was I with his smooth, soulful delivery and voicings. Beautiful Day only further solidifies the man’s appeal to me as he soars through this array of well-executed covers and originals.

Working here alongside this versatile artist are such industry luminaries as keyboardist/composer/producer Brian Simpson; bassists Darryl Williams and Freddie Washington; guitarists Peter White, Paul Brown; Ray Parker Jr., and Paul Jackson Jr.; percussionists Lenny Castro and Ramon Yslas; and pianist David Benoit, just to name a few. I’m sure the depth and quality of Paulo’s material, his personal love for the genre, his personality, and his personal friendship with many of them helped to bring this mega-talented lineup aboard to contribute to this gem.

Among the solid tracks here are the cool and laid-back lead and title track, a handsome stand-up version of the late Grover Washington’s immortal “Mr. Magic,” a beautiful and charming rendition of Santana’s classic “Europa,” Paulo’s own finger-snappin’ “Back With the Funk” (a party-starter, for sure), an absolutely delectable take on the sweet and delicate Elton John classic “Your Song,” another funky firestarter featuring guitarist Ray Parker Jr. called (what else?) “Who You Gonna Call?,” the fit-for-candlelight romantic “#From the Heart,” the wonderfully arranged cover of Sting’s “Fragile” featuring Peter White’s guitar (he also doubles on keys here), the mid-tempo heater “Keiko’s Groove,” and several others that either entice or excite.

Yes, Michael Paulo is one name that many familiar with c-jazz easily recognize. If you are among the few who may not know him, you should definitely acquaint yourself, starting with this rich production and maybe work your way to his start. That should paint a clear picture as to who this high-powered artist is and why so many admire him. This is electrifying cool personified. – Ronald Jackson