The smooth jazz stylizing of guitarist Jay Soto blanket listeners in sweet atmospherics that create a personalized paradise made just for them. Soto’s latest release Mesmerized is the epitome of cool elegance with a carriage of sophisticated saxophone lines and chutes of simmering grooves beefing up the guitar chords. Produced by Jeff Lorber, Paul Brown, Darren Rahn and Mario Mendivil, Mesmerized allows the listener to savor the uplifting feel that smooth jazz tubing offers, making every foamy kernel fume with pleasure and partner every sonic strand with a soul mate. Happiness might be in the air, but Soto knows how to lasso it and make it materialize in his music.
The perky curlicues of Soto’s guitar patterns twine into energizing spheres moving along "Sunday Smile," while radiating a soul-jazz broil burning through the title track as vocalist Jodi Light stokes the melody’s soul-bright embers. The glistening synth effects trickling sporadically over "Dreamsville" add tingling raindrops clothing the vibrating piano keys of Soto and the gently traipsing saxophone loops of Mark Dolin. The Latin-hued veneer of "Bayou Blues" is enameled in salsa-pop beats furnished by percussionist Scott Breadman and the modish tones that kindle "Cacophony" have a nostalgic 70s jazz ring to them, catacomb in heady saxophone swivels played by Dominic Amato and throng by moaning organ swells supplied by Michael Broening. Soto’s guitar engages Amato’s saxophone is some spontaneous interactive playing and cheerful frolicking.
Also featured on the album are the sprightly sprints of saxophonist Darren Rahn on "Groovalicious," which also includes the dusky tones of the Hammond B3 organ played by Ricky Peterson and the frothy peaks of trumpeter/flugelhornist Jason Rahn. In the core of these tracks is Soto’s guitar, which pumps up the music’s hydraulics injecting bubbly suds and clean-cut grooves.
Mesmerized offers audiences a personalized paradise where the comely traits of the passages take them into a world alight with happiness. The music permeates soothing esthetics and pleasing atmospherics that place the listener where feeling good has no ending and is completely attainable.