Steve Oliver’s jubilant and growing legacy continues in 2009 with the re-release of his second studio album Positive Energy, originally released in 2002.
Steve’s unique mix of colorful acoustic guitar melodies, wild vocal percussion and frequent transformation into a human drum machine often weakens the resistance of even the hardest cynic of scat. It’s been his trademark since he toured with Steve Reid’s Bamboo Forest in 1996.
Oliver creates a synergy with his audience in both small intimate venues or on large festival stages. He began using vocals simply attempting to convey musical notes and opening beats to his fellow musicians in the studio. He tried it once in a live setting, and a new sound was born.
In all of this is brought to you by the power of Positive Energy, the bright side of the street approach to life in it’s re-release, which hit the Billboard Top 20 and ranked #1 on the year end list of the fifty most played recordings throughout Canada in 2003, according to smoothjazzcanada.com. Steve was also named Best New Artist and Best Guitar Player the same year. The Smash hit “High Noon," reached #3 on the Radio & Records smooth jazz airplay chart in the U.S. and was one of the most played songs of the year in the format.
Oliver explored at an early age with his guitar and blurred the boundaries between pop jazz, progressive rock to Latin funk. You’ll hear the Latin influence in the opening track “High Noon” and especially the tongue-in-cheek-titled “Festevo,” a tropical jam featuring a live horn section with Donato and label mate Jeff Kashiwa. The R&B element is ever-present as well with the trip-hoppy moodiness of “Day’s End” and the shuffle groover “Mr. Hipster” (with keyboardist Scott Wikie on Rhodes) and “Right Direction” digging deeper than Steve’s gone before. Fans of First View’s gorgeous vocal “I Know” will find a similar caress in “Come on Home.” The bonus track “My Flamingo: pops with the passion Oliver is known for.
Not surprisingly, Steve says that when he’s writing new songs, he’s thinking of one thing how his fans will like it. “Music is therapy for me and makes me feel good, and I love exploring the vast possibilities in all the styles that I enjoy,” he says. “I’m always thinking about how many people I will soon be sharing all this new music with. It’s so much fun connecting with the audience and watching other artists play music that just puts smiles on people’s faces. That energy really fuels my fire.”
All of these sound like things we’ve heard artists say before. Touching the fans emotionally means painting on a lot of smiles. It’s exiting to realize that even when you’ve dug deep into the Steve Oliver experience, musically, spiritually,
and on a fully human level, those smiles are the real deal. They really do come from the heart.
Whether you are finding Positive Energy for the first time or rediscovering it for your collection, tearing the shrink wrap off the CD or downloading it to your iPod will put a smile on your face and Positive Energy!!