We love to put labels on music. Sometimes it’s because it helps us to identify by reference. Other times, it’s as a way of putting something in a slot, and forcing us to think about it in that way only.
Joe Blessett’s Chill Out In Dark Places defies labels by mixing smooth jazz, chill/lounge/nu jazz sounds and old fashioned bedroom soul. The result is a sexy mix of tunes perfect not just for the boudoir, but any quiet night.
The title track allows Blessett room to stretch out, showing he intends to not just supply a mellow groove, but mix it up as well. That sort of fire doesn’t appear on tracks like “Tell Me Something” or “Help Me Pray”, which burble with electronic treatments.
The prize is the bonus track, Honey Hush Café”, an ensemble piece of more straight ahead jazz that ends the album on a soulfully high note.
Joe Blessett is a jazz musician who has named his album Singapore Nights. When putting it in the player, I at first expected the music to conjure up images of Asian culture, perhaps. The titles of pop songs are oftentimes dead giveaways for what a song’s subject matter will be, but this thinking goes out the window with instrumental jazz, where the melody and/or rhythm can be evocative of a place and time, or of any other person, place or thing. All of this information is safely tucked inside the composer/player’s head, but leaves the listener to venture a guess. It was only after reading over the actual song titles, in addition to the album title, that this listener realized his assumptions were incorrect. For instance, one track is titled “Bay Area,” which suggests San Francisco, and another is named “People’s Park,” which is a Cal Berkeley park where many famous social protests took place. So, is this music about Singapore or Northern California? Well, it could be either, both, or none of the above.
No matter what the inspirations were for Blessett’s compositions, the music is nevertheless excellent. Just as the song names don’t pinpoint the influences of their creation, the recordings themselves don’t definitively categorize the music Blessett makes. For instance, the soul-jazz of “Rainy Season,” with its funky piano and organ, and the repeated saxophone line of “One Night in Nagoya” may lead you to believe that Joe Blessett is strictly a jazz musician. If this is your final conclusion, though, you’re only half-right. That’s because “Can’t Wait” and “Bay Area” lean much closer to electronic music than jazz.
There is a popular expression in the culture that states, “It’s all good.” Bob Dylan recently recorded a song that questions the validity of such a phrase, especially with all the trouble in the world. Yet, in the case of Blessett, his music is all good. It doesn’t matter if it is jazzy or atmospheric; Singapore Nights is, across the board, wonderful.
The sort of eclectic music Blessett creates is sometimes included within the New Age genre. However, these 14 songs consistently rise above such a limiting label, which has gotten a bad rap in recent years. What were once termed new age radio stations are now called smooth jazz outlets. And smooth jazz sometimes means instrumental pop music that is so repetitive; it can make a person crazy.
But Blessett never records overly repetitive music. In contrast to that, his compositions are full of instrumental improvisation and rhythmic shifts. There is always something interesting going on.
Whether you imagine yourself in the Far East while listening to Singapore Nights, or existing in the more localized San Francisco Bay area, you will enjoy your stay. Great musicianship is worth traveling around the world for, and Joe Blessett has saturated his new release with topnotch music. Wherever it originates, Singapore Nights is a night to remember.
I have enjoyed creating music, listening to it until get bored with it and then moving on to the next project. With each project turning out according to the mood I'm in or whatever sound grabs my attention. I would like to believe that I create music for my fans, who like to sit with their favorite drink and chill with friends or heading out on the interstate highway crossing state lines listening to my music. Always moving toward new horizons. In 2010 I shared with the world I'M Sorry, Redemption for the Fallen, The Jason Priest Project, Time Goes On, Dorothy’s Dream and The Jason Priest Singles. Look for Singapore Nights spring 2011 Project (completed decided to wait) and Suburban Ghetto Starz (looking collaborate 4 songs with news friends on this project) Moving forward, never looking back. Joe Blessett
What fans are saying. “ cool and relax " “ great music ” “ I love it and want more of it " “ good keep going you will get to the top "