Gary Honor - Atmospheric
time ago I reported about Smooth Jazz from Australia. It's more a
coincidence that I came in contact with it again. I joined Warren
Hill's Smooth Jazz Cruise 2005 starting from Ft. Lauderdale. Onboard I
met a young sax player who was taking part in the contest "Star
Search". He was distributing his album to some of the artists and
I was curious enough to ask him for a copy.
I have already made reviews about the
Noel Elmowy, Igor,
Oh and Albert
Calvo. But there is still no "Australian Smooth Jazz" as
a special identity. It's not easy for a musician to live by his job as
musician, especially in Australia and as a smooth jazz sax player.
Reading Gary's biography one can state that his way to a professional
musician was a bit inconvenient.
Gary's debut album
"Atmospheric" (2004) has some powerful tunes. Gary has
composed and arranged all tracks on this record. Kickin'
Back showcases Gary's energetic blow on tenor, alto and soprano
saxophone, all in the mix. Gary also played in drum, bass and keyboard
programming. Perfectly overdubbed and arranged there is nothing to
This impression is affirmed by the
next tune The Voice Within featuring
Jeremy O'Connor on bass.
Lead instrument on Until
Oneday Comes is the sax again. Gary is nicely improvising about
the main melody by using the overdubb procedure. Personally I miss
somehow a real drummer who brings in his personality.
Wailin' is a proof for my observation. With Steve Kemsley on
live drums the tune sounds more vivid. A real drummer let the tune
swing. Gary is also accompanied by organ and electro piano. Great
is a slow tune with a romantic mood. Peter Morgan's percussion refines
the drum programming and Gary's string supported sax brings the song
to emotional heights.
The Journey Home
is a continuation of the previous tune. Slow and smooth. Put a further
log into the fireplace and pour out a glass of wine.
On Breath Of
Life Gary presents his skills on flute. Not bad! May be Hubert
Laws is one of his models.
Mysterious Ways showcases that Gary is also familiar with more
complex arrangements and music structures. I wouldn't deny a certain
Carlos Santana weaves his way
through Calle Danza. Guitar and
percussion are very similar.
is the New Age counterpart.
a more uptempo song with tempo changes in the bridges. As usual the
sax is lead instrument, this time the soprano sax.
The tempo is speeding up on the
final piece All It Takes. Hip Hop music
is obviously the major influence on Gary's drum programming. Gary is
also using intensively overdubbing to layer his sax-melodies.
Gary's new album Atmospheric can
hold the standard in smooth jazz business. But it will not be easy to
get a firm footing in the American market. There are too many sax players.