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It Just Happens That Way by Mindi Abair

Mindi Abair is someone you haven't heard from before, but you're going to hear more from her in the years to come. It Just Happens That Way showcases Abair in 12 tracks that brings a new audience into jazz. Just as much as smooth jazz has introduced people in their 30's to jazz, Abair is bringing people in their late teens and early 20's into jazz by presenting what I call pop jazz. It has flavors of contemporary pop and brings them into a smooth and funky groove.

Abair uses today's contemporary trends in pop music and brings a smooth jazz edge to it. For instance, on the track Save the Last Dance, there are shades of the Backstreet Boys with its light hearted flavor. With her work as the Backstreet Boys saxophonist on their tour, she knows what the young people are listening to and puts her own stamp on it.

Not only does Mindi Abair show her savvy on sax, keyboards and percussion, she also shows her pop vocal stylings on It Just Happens That Wayas well. On Save Tonight, she shows that style in an uptempo way. Abair also takes some chance as she experiments using a vocorder on the track Lucy's to make that song stand out from the others on the release.

For a debut release, Abair has some strong help. Guitarists Peter White, Jeff Golub and Marc Antione, percussionist Lenny Castro and keyboardist Ricky Peterson all help on It Just Happens That Way. Also helping out is bassist John Taylor of Duran Duran, who performs on the title track. To get these people to help out on a debut release is usually unheard of, but Abair's talent shows why they took on the project.

It Just Happens That Way shows just another way how jazz can be brought to another group that hasn't been used to this genre. Other performers have said no, but Mindi Abair says emphatically yes and does. I expect more great things to come from Abair and I know I won't be disappointed.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Mindi Abair
  • CD Title: It Just Happens That Way
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: GRP
  • Rating: Five Stars
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