In the spirit of multi-genre musical mixologists such as Sting, Jamie Cullum and Joe Jackson, comes vocal stylist, guitarist and songwriter, Jeff Saxon, on his new CD release, Blujanova.
Casting his own unique vocal and stylistic amalgam, Saxon's magical melding of blues, jazz and bossa nova is as much hip and sophisticated as it is soulful and gritty. Along with 7 first-rate Saxon originals, this smile-inducing and spirit-lifting collection features refreshingly unexpected reworkings of 3 seminal blues, rock and soul standards: "Hound Dog", "Riders On The Storm" and "I Got You (I Feel Good)". Tasteful keyboard work and captivating Latin-tinged rhythmic arrangements by producer Michael McGregor help catapult these iconic songs to jazzy and Brazilian places they've never been before.
On the source of inspiration behind Blujanova, Saxon explains: "While my dad introduced me to Brazilian music as a kid, the idea to merge the styles didn't come until a couple of years ago when I was a finalist in the Acoustic Blues Competition at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival in Colorado. All of us had to play a rendition of "Hound Dog", but feeling a bit constrained by the song's 3 major chords, I injected in some jazz and bossa nova chords, bluesified the vocal melody and emerged with a version I really bonded with. And while I didn't win the contest, I felt I emerged with an even better 'prize' because it led me to Blujanova".
And while the covers shine brightly, so do the Saxon-penned songs, such as "Yes Is My Favorite Word", the endearing and autobiographical, "Bossa Nova Boy", ultra-sensual "The Afterlove" and the stunningly beautiful and hypnotic instrumental, "Waiting For Lily", which features Stevie Wonder's percussionist, Munyungo Jackson and a sublime fretless solo by former Santana bassist, Keith Jones.
The blujanova style also lends itself perfectly to Saxon's soothing and emotive vocals. IAE Magazine (I Am Entertainment), in reviewing Jeff's previous "Truthteller" CD, wrote that Saxon possessed “a great voice” and a reviewer at Minor 7th took it even further by calling it "a voice that is utterly disarming...”.
Jeff is a NJ native, but lived and performed in Los Angeles for many years, where he worked in the studio or shared stages with well-known jazz artists such as Dave Koz, Norman Brown, and jazz/fusion group, Hiroshima. Jeff has performed at numerous music festivals and his musical talents have drawn praise from a diverse list of public figures, including Quincy Jones and former President Clinton. He's also appeared at film festivals such as the 2012 World Music And Independent Film Festival (winning for Best Rock Music Video) and the Philadelphia Music and Film Festival.