Joe Sherbanee - The Road Ahead


There is no easy way to musical success. The road to the stars is full of stones. Some of these stones seem to be insurmountable obstacles: Labels are sending back your demo tapes or cd-roms without opening the envelope, radiostations without interest in broadcasting your music, cd-retailers refusing to sell your albums. As a young musician you have to plan your career carefully. A good example is Joe Sherbanee. Having good music-biz connections also helped him building up and running an own  label, as well as recruiting new musicians. Knowing both sides of the business - the playing and the executive branches - is a major plus for him as he prepares to reach these stars. His label Native Language has produced last year successful albums like Steve Oliver's First View. "Getting artists for your label is like a dating process. You have to win them over, get them to love and appreciate you, and let them know you are going to do the best for them. We aren't selling thousand and Thousand yet, but with the response we've been getting there's no reason why we can't."
This optimism  also impress his recent album The Road Ahead. Joe Sherbanee's expressiveness doesn't suffer from the impetus to be radiolike. The album is obviously a mirror of Joe's personality. Unique and no product for the masses.

Big city - the beginning piece - is dominated by Mark Antoine's excellent acoustic guitar play layed out on Joe's keyboard produced wide soundcarpet.

Eric Marienthal 's tenor sax gives the next piece Friday a smooth and  nevertheless funky touch. This duality between soft stocktaking and propulsive music threads through the whole album.

"The Road Ahead represents what lies around us and ahead of us as we move through life. As we travel down that road, we have to understand where we came from, where we're at, and where we're going. I've always been a firm believer that life just puts us where wr belong, and as we keep moving forward, we'll be there we're supposed to be, " comments Joe Sherbanee. Danny Donnely's clear voice and electric guitar, Theo Bishop's typical hammond b-3 sound and Jimmy Haslip's bass stand in the tradition of the american road song in a folk-rock mood remembering the wide untouched country.

The samba ballad San Luis is the communication between Eric Marienthal soprano sax and Jimmy Haslip's fretless bass accompanied by Joe's piano. The a più lento piece which slow phases is propulsived by Will Kennedy's rimsticks.

Blue-Eyed Persuasion is a love song interpreted by Danny Donnely's vocals. It sounds like a mixture of Blues, Jazz, Rock and R&B.

The famous Beatles song Blackbird gets new life by Jason Freese 's tenor sax and Theo Bishop 's piano and keyboard. A perfect playing together of brilliant artists especially Theo's piano solo deserves the characterization as one of the hightlights of this album.

Steppin' out is not the finish but a melodic interplay of this album, where Marc Antoine has anew the opportunity to showcase his exceptional  skillfulness as acoustic guitarist.

Contemplative and played with empathy is November. Sherbanee says, "November explores the parts of relationship which deal with loss and pain. The basses represent a somber identity that on the basic levels can be an incredibly humanistic want and need. I wanted to make the piece very raw and exposed because I think that at times loss can make us very realized and open to the elemets."

In the same mood played is the finishing piece Self Portrait. The artists are setting accents to single tones, which are gingerly performanced. 

This album combines smooth rhytmic with straight melodies. If you like Bruce Hornsby and Contemporary Jazz this is the right stuff to have both.

© HBH  

Joe Sherbanee

Technical virtuosity combines with emotional depth in the debut release of Joe Sherbanee.  With eloquent writing and vivid visual themes, THE ROAD AHEAD attempts to break down musical barriers by fusing together contemporary jazz with funk, blues, folk, and pop influences in a crossover appeal that cannot be categorized.

Featuring some of contemporary jazz's most notable talents, including Eric Marienthal and Marc Antoine, the album is not only a therapeutic endeavor for the young producer, writer, and co-founder of Native Language, but is a notable foray into the evolving contemporary jazz genre.  Basing the album's thematic material on the dualities between life and love, and location and destination, the album strives to reach beyond typical and predictable commercial values as the emotional essay comments on our own place in the world around us:  the places we've gone and will go, the people we've met and will meet...where we are in the world and how we interact with our surroundings, Sherbanee comments.

As with any musician, Sherbanee credits his influences with helping him develop his unique production and writing style, but is quick to point out that the music is   what he observes.  Also contributing to the recording are Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip, drummer Will Kennedy, and labelmate and Native Language co-founder Theo Bishop.

Sherbanee has studied at Berklee College of Music, holds a degree in Music Business from the University of Southern California, and has worked or performed with artists such as Loreena McKennitt, Adam Sandler, the Yellowjackets, and Jeff Kashiwa and Steve Reid (formerly of the Rippingtons).  Sherbanee is also an active member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).

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