CD Review – Come as you are by Mindi Abair
7 out of 10 – Universal Music – 602498 623312
The Alto Saxophonist and Singer, Mindi Abair fused melodic themes, and light bossa nova rhythms on her 2004 release, Come As You Are.
A Saxophonist in the same mould as Candy Dulfer and David Sanborn, the 11 tracks on this album seem written for the radio. With gentle singing on such love songs as ‘You’ll Never Know’ and ‘I Can remember’ the mood is gently romantic, while the
official last track ‘Cyan’ is a soft ballad with a string section.
Other instrumentals, such as title track ‘Come as you are’ and ‘Head Over Heels’ have a light rock feel to them, and singable and minimalist themes. ‘New Shoes’ and ‘High Five’ mix proper Jazz themes with a playful beat.
Unfortunately, there is nothing on this album that really sets it apart from an already over-crowded field. Technically, the Saxophone tone is superb, but there is nothing on the album that really takes off. They seem written for a radio system that is always playing on the safe side. The playing of all musicians is always good, and there is a lot to commend the album, it is just that it is too close to pop to be properly defined as Jazz, which the label on the sleeve suggests we do.
It is perhaps a telling sign that the most compelling musical argument for Mindi Abair as a composer and Saxophonist is reserved for the hidden track, ‘26 Hemenway’, which on many other albums would be released as a single.