Back in 2000, when Washington, D.C. based saxman Jaared Arosemena released his debut Cd, “Foreward”, he described his vibe as “the next factor.” It was all about a soulful cool, a mid-tempo metropolitan smooth style, heavy on the urban saxophone seduction. Its first single “Love Takes Over” was the number one most added tune the week it came out (according to Radio & Records) and hit #5 in Japan and #1 in England. His inevitable splash onto Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart helped establish him as a top new artist in the genre, which culminated in his nomination for Best New Artist at the 3rd Annual National Smooth Jazz Awards and an unforgettable live performance at the awards ceremony in March of 2002.
One of the mixed blessings of being an in demand sideman is struggling to carve out enough time to pursue solo projects. Since breaking out in the smooth jazz world after a lengthy sideman career Deborah Gibson, Freddie Jackson, Angela Bofill, Jaared’s only had one other release, 2002’s Hangtime while being most familiar to genre fans as guitarist Peter White’s right hand man; his other major genre credit was as a featured performer on the Grammy nominated Maximum Grooves: Coast To Coast.
Addiction, his long awaited debut on Trippin N Rhythm, is another picture perfect release that will hopefully help establish him more as his own artist. The spirited grooving and catchy melodies throughout the 11 tracks will definitely inspire, well, addictions from genre listeners looking for sounds that are fresh and cool. Jaared’s not totally reinventing the wheel, but he’s still committed to being that “next factor,” spinning them joyfully from the get go on the discofied, hard thumping alto tune “Piccadilly Circus,” which features a chorus pairing his edgy horn sound with Norman Brown-like vocalizations.
Most genre fans probably don’t realize what a strong vocal presence Jaared has, and he effectively adds that voice to the jumpy soprano driven gem “That’s Alright” and does a lovely, soulful lead vocal turn on the romantic and sensual “You Like Me Don’t You.” Those things will help this CD stand out from the 2008 sax pack. His other trademark vibe is the way he textures the horns in all the right spots, and he aces collaborating, writing and playing with labelmate and keyboardist Oli Silk (who produced Addiction and plays on every cut) and in tandem with the lush guitar of genre star Steve Oliver on the sensuous, easily rhythmic Earl Klugh penned soprano ballad “Jamaican Winds.”
Most of the covers you hear these days are typical well worn Top 40 pop tunes, but this is a gem from Klugh’s 1991 disc Midnight In San Juan. The original is worth checking out too! Other cuts worth checking out are the title track, the cleverly titled “Blinded By Delight” and the exotically cool “Night In Rio.”
Jaared’s picture perfect blend of groove, melody, edge and exotica makes this disc one of 2008’s best smoothies. But beyond his ability to make a great pop-jazz disc, there’s something else that everyone should know about him as he makes his next play for solo stardom. Only a handful of people have had the unique experience of hearing him hold a single note for 40 minutes, all the more remarkable a feat because of the chronic asthma he suffered from as a child. When he was six, a doctor advised that he learn a wind instrument to help strengthen his lungs, and from then on, music was his life. “I listened to a lot of great sax players when I was growing up, but never took it seriously as a possible career path for myself until I heard David Sanborn play,” he says. “I knew then it was my calling. I need it like I need air and water to survive.” Jaared has been an active spokesperson for the American Lung Association of the District of Columbia.