In the realm of smooth jazz ideology, the lines connecting the dots of where one style of music begins and the other drops off are not clearly defined. That is due in part to the measure of influences that an artist chooses to draw upon when deciding to record an album. When the decision is made to record a smooth jazz album, he or she may choose to include pop, rock, R&B, soul, classic jazz, fusion or other styles of music to make a creative statement. With that being said, the possibility of a smooth jazz album becoming something other than what is meant to be offered can easily occur. In a CD entitled Dreamin by trumpeter Paul Thomas Yoder, the lines are definitely crossed between one style of music to the other.
First and foremost, Paul Thomas Yoder is a pretty decent trumpet player. His command of the instrument is very apparent within the confines of his latest release. His sound is crisp and smooth in an environment that can be light and airy at best, as well as picturesque at various times along the way. In other areas, Paul displays incredible saavy in his inclusion of pop, rock, fusion and a degree of heavy metal music on what is billed as a smooth jazz offering. In the overall scheme of what is happening on Dreamin, Paul has pushed the envelope of the expected. In other words, Paul has incorporated the elements of many different styles and the inclusion of subtle vocalese to display an incredible matrix of trumpet and flugelhorn skills. Although Dreamin has been recorded under the guise of smooth jazz, Paul has given the release an alter-ego in the scope of his overall message.
In the purest sense and when examining Paul Thomas Yoder's latest release in totality, Dreamin is not in a stand alone smooth jazz category. If the CD has to be classified at all, it is more appropriate to file Paul's unique offering under fusion. Because the CD is not the usual generic response to any perceived ideology, everything about the album is uniquely qualified to be different by most standards. At a glance, which includes the first and second track, Paul's direction is not entirely clear; however, on the remaining tracks Yoder pulls it all together with considerable flair and creativity. In retrospect, Dreamin is a very inviting release and enjoys the luxury of many different dynamics to draw upon. Paul Thomas Yoder's choice of musicians as a collective are just as complementary. Each in his own way brings an eclectic interpretive response to Paul's creative focus.
Dreamin is a special blend of charismatic musical responses to a variety of influences. The CD is melodic and seductive in some respects, as well as engaging in approach. Paul's presentation is a musical experience waiting to happen and proves that jazz comes in a variety of flavors.