Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Blake Aaron: Desire

Like fellow guitarist Jay Soto, Blake Aaron is a musician who has paid his dues and is now on the road to fame and fortune as a smooth-jazz guitarist. He’s got a good gig writing and performing music for TV, but as a smooth-jazz star, the odds are against him. Like Soto, he’s in with super-producer Paul Brown, a big plus, and has Brown co-write and produce some of the material here. Naturally, Aaron has a bright tone on the electric, which he shows on Billy Preston’s “Will It Go Round in Circles,” as well as on the acoustic, amply displayed on Sting’s “Fragile.” Those are the only covers on this 15-song CD, its high number due to a creative backlog after previous record-label woes delayed its release.

Aaron’s sound has rock, pop and blues influences, setting him apart from R&B guitar brethren like Norman Brown and Nick Colionne. And more often than not, his songs are beefy with notes and ideas, which he’ll have to tone down for any smooth-jazz aspirations. But, hey, it should go over well at shows. Two tunes beg for repeated spins, both dedicated to heroes. Don’t have to tell you who “Bumpin’ on the Wes Side” is for, as the song is much better than its lame title. “Harmonious Funk,” a funky stroll, is tougher to decipher; it’s dedicated to jazz icons who couldn’t be more different: Thelonious Monk and Grover Washington Jr.

Originally Published