Corner Cafe Show: March 9, 2019
Billboard charting jazz artist and producer Darren Rahn is back in studio! With over 25 #1 radio singles and multiple Grammy nominations over the past 11 years as an artist, producer and mixing engineer, Darren Rahn has become urban jazz’s premiere sonic architect, the “go-to” guy for established genre greats and up and comers looking for their next sure-fire hit. Yet in signing with Woodward Avenue Records and recording his fifth album, the British Columbia born, Denver based saxophonist – who launched his solo career with Soulful in 2004 – is after something more meaningful than a few more instantly infectious smashes. The multi-talented performer’s desire to launch his second decade as an innovative powerhouse by creating music in his truest voice, straight from the heart, is perfectly in line with the label’s unique mission: to let artists make music authentic to themselves, beyond the trappings of formulas and strictly commercial considerations.
Rahn’s lifelong affinity for woodwinds started as a kid with the clarinet before he taught himself baritone sax to join his junior high jazz band. He has infused his previous four albums – including Once in a Lifetime (2005), Talk of the Town (2009) and Speechless (2012) – with a mix of tenor, alto and soprano. On the new album, he believes that the best way to display the purest representation of his artistry is to focus strictly on the tenor. “I’ve matured to the point on my musical journey where I believe it’s time to really make that choice,” he says. “I’ll still play alto and soprano live, and will play alto, soprano and baritone on future recordings, but the horn that shows my heart and my core as a musician, and that I wanted to showcase on this album, is the tenor.”
Another unique element is the decision to go with all live drums, as opposed to his previous trademark mix of live and computer generated grooves, in addition to instruments like the Hammond B-3 organ and Bosendorfer piano. Because the project is about much more than simply creating ten new potential singles for radio, he is also composing some longer tunes, and ones that explore his equal passions for pop, rock and R&B/funk – as well as his lifelong affinity for the gospel music he grew up playing. Rahn’s desire to keep things as organic and raw as possible may also lead to a bona fide, expansive jazz fusion track.
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