Monday, April 17, 2006

Mindi Abair | Life Less Ordinary

April 18, 2006 GRP Records releases Life Less Ordinary, Mindi Abair's New Album. The personnel of this CD is: Mindi Abair - Alto Saxophone, Vocal, Keyboards; Matthew Hager -Programming, Guitar, Bass, Producer, Percussion, Keyboards; Mike Landau - Guitar; Ricky Petersen - Piano, Organ and others. Life Less Ordinary launches its seduction of the listener's senses with the cool, clubby/soulful chill of "Do You Miss Me, " a track that, for Abair, captures the mood of the whole project."The reason it's first is that if you like it, you'll like the rest of the album, " she says. "It's got a little of everything, it always makes me want to dance, and the title is a perfect sentiment about me being on the road all the time."

With its swirling mix of nouveau-old school percussion, trippy atmospheres and energetic horns, the next song chronicles her "Long Ride Home" perfectly. "It's a great driving song, a Euro-inspired tune we had a lot of fun with, " she says.

"The Joint" is a down and dirty, rock/soul jam that's both retro and raucous; Robinson keeps it swinging, while Abair's alto takes a sexy low road over Peterson's Wurlitzer and organ harmonies. "I've come up the ranks playing in so many little dives. There's an energy to being in a broken down vibey club and feeling like you're one with the audience. I wanted to capture that feeling of a smoky dark room filled with people shaking their bodies to the beat."

Abair takes a 180-degree turn emotionally for the next track, the darkly ambient and emotionally wrenching ballad "Rain, " which was inspired in part by the victims of Hurricane Katrina. "It starts out with a melancholy air, but as it emerges, it becomes more optimistic, " she says. "It captures the way we respond to a tragedy of that magnitude, with sadness that gives way to determination and strength to survive." Songs like the peppy and playful "True Blue" (which features some of Abair's most catchy and mouthwatering wordless harmony vocals ever) and the boldly produced, jangly pop-rocker "Bloom" have the joyful feel of Abair's most familiar pop hits, while the percussive, crunch-funk hip-hop grooves of "Slinky" propel her further into a new sound that will no doubt become the standard for the ever evolving fusion of instrumental jazz, chill and pop.

Perhaps more than any other track, the sweetly-rendered Brazilian-tinged vocal track "Ordinary Love" sums up Abair's attitude towards love. Where most love songs address the intense passion at the beginning or the heartbreak at the end, Mindi pens a playful and endearing song which celebrates the sustaining beauty and freedom of every day, or ordinary, love. In what is now a Mindi Abair signature, she ends the CD with a lonely heartfelt ballad "Far Away". "It started out with me singing the melody and playing it on piano to demo the song. I always envisioned it with soprano saxophone as the main instrument, but when we recorded the saxophone track, we forgot to mute the "guide" vocal that I had put down. The two were so haunting together. We kept it!"

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