"When It's Hip"
When you have a repertoire that includes 22 releases to your musical credit, you’ve earned a spot in the elite class of smooth jazz performers.
The longevity of guitarist Patrick Yandall can be contributed to a number of factors, namely his inventiveness for delivering a spectrum of styles and stretching the parameters to areas some others dare not go. When It’s Hip is the latest chapter in his nearly 3 decades of recording, and it with it comes fully packed with melodies and harmonies that are eclectic, electric and overall dazzling.
The diversification of When Its Hip is a virtue that fans will instantly get hooked on, as Yandall’s guitar mastery includes jazz, latin-rock, soul and funk inspirations and nuances, in what he refers to as a more aggressive sounding approach to the various styles. And nothing can qualify more as a hands on project than when an artist composes and performs every instrument from start to finish, with the exception of a couple of stellar cover songs. The title track in itself is melodically funky, and playfully rhythmic with gritty guitar and backing brass. On The Groovefather, Yandall provides a mental glimpse of the kind of sound that would emerge if James ‘Godfather of Soul’ Brown jumped on stage to join the Oakland soul legends Tower Of Power, with mesmerizing lead guitar and funked up horn section.
Soul Instincts is rich with fast Latin percussion, electric melodies, keyboards and an electric guitar vibe reminiscent of classic Santana. I was completely enthralled with At The Bijou, featuring a slow, dramatic opening that morphs into a glorious electrifying lead backed with synthesized strings and retro soul Hammond accompaniment. Bring The Funk packs an incendiary lead guitar and solo, and a more wholesome and organic sound emerges on Heartland, blending acoustic stylings with infection Allman Brothers style lead to make an ultimate road tripping anthem at a steady 65 miles per hour.
Covering a couple of classics, Yandall’s version of the Isley’s Who’s That Lady emulates the scorching lead guitar the original is beloved for, and he cashes in with a near identical rendition of Pink Floyd’s Money, that is instrumentally brilliant.
When Its Hip is a testament to an artist whose admirable longevity is not by accident, but by extreme talent and versatility.