My Heart and Soul
Famous as a sideman for Al Jarreau, saxophonist Michael Paulo is undermined by clichéd, uninteresting background tracks on the disappointing solo effort My Heart and Soul (Noteworthy NWR9506; 55:05). The Hawaiian-born sax man plays with a graceful, warm touch (particularly on the soprano), but his best is lost in canned background tracks on synthy pieces like "Forevermore" and a lethargic cover of Stevie Wonder's "For Your Love." Though Paulo's emotive fills and the rich vocal tones of Carl Anderson populate a cover of "Nature Boy," the arrangement is all tinny synthesizer-which is most annoying. Also annoying is the "toasting" rap LOON/E contributes to the sappy Earth Wind & Fire tune "That's the Way of the World," but at least it's interesting. The news isn't all bad, as Paulo is well served by a graceful acoustic arrangement of the album's title track, which swells cinematically under his pretty melody line. Paulo is a solid player clearly in need of a worthy setting.