|Thank God for Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Jose Feliciano, for without their collective spirit, we would not be blessed with the superlative talent of Raul Midón and his recording State Of Mind. Raul Midón is at the top of my list for best male vocalist of the year in any contemporary style. Midón also plays guitar, composes catchy tunes, writes wonderful lyrics and, he has developed an interesting method of scatting that is indicated in the liner notes as mouth trumpet. I hope that you buy more than one CD this year, but, if you only buy one CD, this is the one to check out.
The title track State Of Mind, a Midón composition, has a great melody. Its an up-tempo song that has Midón playing guitar in a very percussive style. The phrasing he incorporates is reminiscent of Feliciano; it has a Spanish flavour emanating from the strumming guitar style. Midón has a smooth, silky voice that conveys bountiful amounts of emotional sound. The vocal becomes a lead instrument from the reed section, soothing and warm, as close to a little bit of heaven as you can find.
Keep On Hoping composed by Midón and Mraz has a Motown kind of sound, with great guitar solos running through the background. The feature is a vocal duet by Midón and Mraz. A wonderful pairing of vocal enchantment, harmonizations of the call and answer variety that are fresh and joyful.
The song Expressions Of Love, a Midón composition arranged by Stefon Harris and Joe Mardin, features a beautiful duet with Harris on vibraphone and Stevie Wonder on chromatic harmonica. An uplifting tune, Sunshine, features an harmonica solo by Gregoire Maret. Laying down a driving rhythm Eric Revis provides the perfect accompaniment for vocal soloing on lyrical verses of passion. Midón sings, Everyday I wonder why, peace on Earths so hard to find. Real peace begins inside, in our hearts and in our minds.
The CD is packed full of great songs and I would be hard pressed to find any negatives. The recording is well produced by Arif Mardin and Joe Mardin. The sound is great, complemented by a superb mix. The cast of characters on this project are one hundred and ten percent in the giving mood for a very special recording of Raul Midóns State Of Mind.
report by Paul J. Youngman KJA Jazz Advocate October '06
Raul Midón acoustic guitar, mouth trumpet, vocals
Shedrick Mitchell Hammond B-3 organ
Jonathon Maron, Richard Hammond, Jerry Barnes, Eric Revis bass
Daniel Sadownick, Cyro Baptista, Sammy Figeroua percussion
Jason Mraz vocals, whistle, acoustic guitar
Joe Mardin piano, drums
Lisa Fischer backup vocal
Stevie Wonder, Gregoire Maret harmonica
Stefon Harris vibraphone
Dave Valentine flute