Ron Boustead: Mosaic (2013)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Offering a musical canvas of light beautiful material, Los Angeles-based composer/singer Ron Boustead delivers a one-of-a kind musical treasure on the highly entertaining Mosaic. Containing four originals and jazz-influenced, reworked pop standards from the likes of James Taylor, Carole King, Bill Withers and Jon Lucien among others, Boustead produces a superbly presented "jazz-pop concoction" of gorgeous songs possessed of infectious charm. His first release since the highly acclaimed Blend (Art Rock Music, 2006), Boustead is an expressive vocalist who, though his style has been compared to that of jazz icons Mose Allison and Mark Murphy, distinguishes himself with a crisp, crooner-like performance.
The charm offensive begins quite nicely on Leo Minax and Nancy Strauss's bossa nova-grooved "Moon Song," featuring trumpeter Rick Braun, guitarist Ramon Stagnaro and pianist Bill Cantos, among others. It only gets better on the following Lucien standard "You're Sensational," with the leader scatting and setting the pace for soprano saxophonist Steve Hoskins and Gregg Karukas, on Fender Rhodes. Saxophone stalwart Kirk Whalum shares the spotlight with Boustead on humbling original, "No Me Without You," while renowned pianist Bill Cunliffe guests on King's warm love song, "Wishful Thinking."
Boustead is certainly at his best on one of the brightest moments of the set as piano legend Fred Hersch and percussionist Luis Conte weave their magic on the original "Careless Wind." There are far more highlights than fillers on this album, with the Withers pop standard, "Whatever Happens" and Taylor's "Secret 'O Life" closing out the project. Songs such as "And Now," "Every Moment of You" and the funky-fusion of "Everything Be Ok" are all special pieces of a puzzle that fit perfectly here. The writing, arrangements, cast, and compelling performance from songwriter Boustead make Mosaic a vocal statements that's hard to ignore.
Track Listing: Moon Song; You're Sensational; No Me Without You; Wishful Thinking; And
Now?; Careless Wind; Every Moment of You; Everything Be Ok; Whatever
Happens; Secret 'O Life.
Personnel: Ron Boustead: vocals; Bill Cantos: piano, keyboards (1, 5, 7); Ramon
Stagnaro: guitar (1, 5, 7); Brian Bromberg: bass (1, 5, 7); Mike
Shapiro: drums, percussion (1, 5, 7); Rick Braun: trumpet (1); Greg
Poree: guitar (2); Keith Jones: bass (2); Munyungo Jackson: percussion
(2, 9); Gregg Karukas: Fender Rhodes, electric piano (2, 6); Steve
Hoskins: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone (2, 4 ): Andreas Aleman:
keyboards (3); Kirk Whalum: tenor saxophone (3); Arnold McCuller:
vocals (3); Michael McGregor: keyboards (4, 8); Bill Cunliffe: piano
(4); Bart Samolis: bass (4); Pat Kelly: guitar (4, 8, 9); Renee Stahl:
vocals (5); Fred Hersch: piano (6); Oscar Seaton: drums (6); Luis
Conte (6); Katisse Buckingham: flute (8); Mitchell Forman: organ,
piano (9, 10 ); Don Aren: bass (9); Windy Wagner: vocals (9).
Record Label: Self Produced