Ron Boustead | Mosaic

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Jazz: Jazz Vocals Brazilian: Bossa Nova Moods: Type: Vocal
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Mosaic

by Ron Boustead

A smooth and emotional set of vocal tunes, with a Contemporary Brazilian flavor, aided by a stellar cast of jazz musicians including Bill Cantos, Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun, Gregg Karukas, Brian Bromberg, Fred Hersch, Pat Kelley and Bill Cunliffe.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Vocals
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Moon Song
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5:18 $0.99
2. You're Sensational
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4:39 $0.99
3. No Me Without You
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5:43 $0.99
4. Wishful Thinking
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3:40 $0.99
5. And Now?
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3:44 $0.99
6. Careless Wind
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4:33 $0.99
7. Every Moment of You
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4:32 $0.99
8. Everything Be Ok
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4:30 $0.99
9. Whatever Happens
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3:29 $0.99
10. Secret 'o Life
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4:19 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"Mosaic" is a labor of love project for veteran Pop-Jazz singer, Ron Boustead, his first release since the 2006 "Blend" record. The songs were meticulously chosen, tastefully produced, and sung with a simple heartfelt honesty that lets you know you're hearing a man who knows a little something about love, speaking his truth.

There is no shortage of musicianship here and the liner notes read like a who's who of Grammy winners and nominees. Featured sidemen include Bill Cantos, Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum, Fred Hersch, Brian Bromberg, Gregg Karukas, Munyungo Jackson, Bill Cunliffe, Luis Conte, Michael Shapiro, Ramon Stagnaro, Mitchell Forman, and Pat Kelley.

Four of the ten songs were co-written by Boustead, with the others being re-imagined gems by great writers like Carole King, Bill Withers, Jon Lucien and James Taylor.

"Moon Song", which opens the record is a Bossa Nova in 7/8 time. The groove is so relaxed and undeniable that the listener may be unaware of the odd time signature. The song was written by Leo Minax (with Nancy Strauss), who is a Contemporary Brazilian artist now living in Europe. Its sexy, love song message is both romantic and poetic, with lines like, "I'll sing to you with the moon in my voice." Arrangement by Bill Cantos is simple and elegant, with short, lovely solos by Stagnaro and Cantos, and sweet trumpet fills by Rick Braun.

"You're Sensational" is a cover of the late Jon Lucien's samba-esque song about the sense of awe at the dawning of a new love affair. He sings, "The feeling that came over me was strong and elusive, much like a question, 'what do you want with me?'". Soprano sax by Steve Hoskins sails overtop of Boustead's plaintive vocal, with Karukas adding his signature Rhodes sound and Munyungo Jackson layering lots of percussion to maintain the feeling of excitement.

The unmistakeable tone of Kirk Whalum's tenor opens up the Boustead original "No Me Without You", co-penned with Swedish funk star, Andreas Aleman. The song begins as a reflection on life's ups and downs and the lessons we learn as we gather a little wisdom over the years. But as the melody progresses, we are lifted to a beautiful statement of devotion and commitment. Whalum drives home the sentiment with an extended vamp out that shows what a master of soul and restraint he truly is.

To many listeners, "Wishful Thinking" will be an unfamiliar tune, even though it has a mellow, natural grace and was written by none other than Carole King. Boustead's version transforms the tin pan alley pop tune into a jazzy bossa groove, and creates an inviting and moving portrait of one-sided love and all the longing that entails. Bill Cunliffe's acoustic piano solo brings the message home with a light and masterful touch.

When Ron first heard Fatima Guedes' gorgeous melody song "E Agora?", he was stunned by the beauty and emotion of the melody. Unfortunately, he doesn't speak or sing in Portuguese, so he decided to write his own lyric in English. Ms. Guedes was delighted with the result, and so the song "And Now?" was born. Again, arrangement by Bill Cantos with Bromberg, Shapiro and Stagnaro playing live in the studio, gave the new song a worthy entry into the world.

Boustead and Hersch wrote the haunting uptempo Latin, "Careless Wind" some 20 years ago, but the song has never been recorded or released until now. "Like the wind...the warm capricious wind...love comes in and tells a tale to your heart." The basic tracks were laid down in Los Angeles, with Hersch adding his piano in New York. Luis Conte and Oscar Seaton light a fire under everything with their spirited percussion and drumming.

Boustead's friend, pianist and composer, Billy Larkin was visiting from Cincinnati a year or so ago and played Ron some of his new songs. One of them was "Every Moment Of You". It was love at first listen, a sweet jazzy waltz with a classic message and surprising chord changes. Its inclusion here is the song's debut, though it's likely other singers will quickly follow suit. The music was recorded in one take, with Cantos laying down a beautiful piano solo.

Things get decidedly more playful and upbeat on "Everything Be OK", written by Boustead and long-time collaborator, Michael McGregor. Here the groove is a driving Latin Hip-Hop bed, and the message is an unflinchingly positive affirmation of a committed, unshakeable relationship. Comparisons to Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" would not be misplaced. "We really have no reason to complain...so every time you ask me...is it gonna be alright...my answer's still the same... so far so good". Reedman, Katisse Buckingham takes a ridiculously virtuosic flute solo, and Pat Kelley's funky guitar picking keep everything percolating.

Boustead is great admirer of Bill Withers, who crafted many classic songs like "Lean On Me" and "Use Me". But one of his lesser-known but equally touching works is "Whatever Happens". Again, here is a portrait of a mature, loving couple standing at each other's side through thick and thin, with the refrain, "And we'll kiss before we say goodnight". This version is a duet with songstress Windy Wagner, whose voice is a sweet counterpart to Boustead's plaintive cry, and Mitchell Forman's Hammond B3 whoops and wails around the edges to let us know we're in highly charged emotional territory.

The coda to "Mosaic" is the poignant "Secret 'O Life" by another of Boustead's heroes, James Taylor. Here, the light-hearted folksy charm of Taylor's song is transformed into a prayer-like remembrance of younger brother, Dean Boustead who passed away in 2011. Piano and string arrangement by Mitchell Forman create a timeless, melancholy atmosphere that seems to leave us believing that, in the end, "it's just a lovely ride".

Enjoy!


Reviews


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Pancho Harrison

Best Boustead yet!
Ron Boustead's latest offering "Mosaic" is a gentle, latin-flavored treat for the ears. It features the talents of some of LA's best musicians, including familiar collaborators Gregg Karukas and Michael McGregor. This time Ron has enlisted the help of two other keyboard giants, Bill Cantos and Fred Hersch. Cantos arranged three of the songs here, "Moon Song," "And Now?" and the atmospheric "Every Moment of You," in which he plays a thoughtful solo over the intricate changes. Hersch cowrote the Jobim-esque "Careless Wind" with Ron, who does some nice, mellow scatting near the end. A few of the many standout moments for me: Rick Braun's muted trumpet throughout "Moon Song," as well as Ramon Stagnaro's excellent guitar solo; Steve Hoskins' soprano sax intro and solo on "You're Sensational," a tune that has a slightly more old-school feel; the harmonies provided by Arnold McCuller on "No Me Without You," a jazzy pop song, and by Windy Wagner on "Whatever Happens," the Bill Withers/Larry Carlton collaboration. There's also a latin version of a Carole King song I'd not heard of, called "Wishful Thinking," that is quite a toe-tapper. Ron's meditative take on James Taylor's "Secret O' Life" is the perfect last cut on the album, and is dedicated to his late brother Dean. All in all, this record is as pleasing a listening experience as I've had in years, with Ron's smooth, unhurried baritone making the world go away, at least for a while.

Mark Winkler

Swingin' male jazz singer who can touch the heart
Where have all the male jazz singers gone! Well a very fine one is right here. Ron Boustead combines the ability to swing with the more than a ping to your heart for an altogether lovely listening experience. Fine production, killer musicians including Fred Hersch, Bill Cunliffe, and Brian Bromberg for starters and a lovely knack of picking songs that are wonderfully written and not altogether that familiar are other reasons to pick this wonderful release up. Some of my faves are “You’re Sensational”—first done by Jon Lucien, “Wishful Thinking” a wonderful Carole King song I’d never heard of, and Rob’s own “Careless Wind” which he wrote and performs with Fred Hersch. Full of Brazillian rythms (Bill Cantos and Mike Shapiro are all over the CD) and an ease only a pro could bring- Discover this male jazz singer today.

nightowlgk

Excellent CD!
Lights down low, I pop in Ron Boustead's brand new 3rd solo CD, Mosaic. It looks, sounds and feels like a labor of love for Ron and his all-star guests; relaxed, right in the pocket, timeless, with nothing to prove. Musically and sonically I marvel as Ron's intimate, romantic vocals and lyrics go straight to the heart on quite a few originals and some tasteful covers of rarely heard gems by Carole King, Bill Withers, Jon Lucien and James Taylor.

Mosaic is a many faceted project with stellar guest musicians who all seem to "get it" and generously offer their colorful, restrained "pieces" to produce a work of art that reflects Ron's Brazilian, jazz, folk and classic ballad influences. Fred Hersch, Michael McGregor, Mitchel Forman, Gregg Karukas, Bill Cunliffe, Bill Cantos, Brian Bromberg, Michael Shapiro, Scott Mayo, Pat Kelley, Luis Conte, Anold McCuller, Windy Wagner, Keith Jones, Munyungo Jackson, Steve Hoskins, Don Aren and Greg Poree are all old friends with resumes spanning every musical genre. Ron's new musical friends Kirk Whalum, Rick Braun, Ramon Stagnaro, Katisse Buckingham, and Oscar Seaton fit right in as he has assembled a range of material that focuses on great lyrics, harmonic richness and most of all, his emotional vocals. There is a long distance collaboration with Swedish soul singer/songwriter Andreas Aleman, and Ron's English lyric to Brazilian songwriter Fatima Guedes' song "E Agora?" ("And Now?") is worth the price of the CD. All in all, Mosaic begs for repeated listens, top to bottom to enjoy all the inlaid layers of superb songwriting and musicianship; and most of all the warm voice of Ron Boustead.