David Mann – Touch
by Ray Redmond
Since teaming with his brother Ned in 1993 to put out Mann to Mann, David Mann has been behind the scenes, writing tracks for the likes of Nelson Rangell, Kim Waters, Wayman Tisdale and Rachel Z. He is back with a new release on N-Coded music that is filled with fresh tunes, retro flavor and sweet jazz.
The CD starts out with the soft, sweet, retro-reminiscent “Above and Beyond”. Chris Botti joins in with a nice trumpet solo on “Yes We Can”. The next track is literally a “Stone Groove” with Mann’s alto and the electric guitar stylings of Chuck Loeb smoothing you along from start to end. The cover of the classic “Where is the Love” is quite smooth and soulful, stylized but not overdone with Mann’s trademark sax/flute blend leading the way.
“Slinky” is funky but a bit shallow, aiming to hit the same groove as some of the old Tower of Power or Cold Blood Rhythms and reaching the level of good-n-funky, but not that funky. “Love is a Curious Thing” features the vocals of Catte Adams and gets my vote as best-of-album. Melodic and well crafted, it is imbued with the same overall old-school feeling as the rest of the CD, but it transcends the effort and reaches the point. Perhaps it’s the vocals that captured me.
“Old School” oddly enough sounds more like smooth jazz than old-school jazz. hmmmmm.. Mann spent three years recording and touring with Tower of Power, and their influence flavors the tight horns at the start of “Blessing in Disguise”. The most radio friendly cut “Smoke Rings” features Bob James and Chris Botti combining with Mann to produce an earthy, rhythmic jaunt.
This spring has seen a flood of new releases, many in the same genre as David Mann’s Touch, and many are as good i many ways. Touch stands out for me in that ALL of the tunes are good and I am sure that at least THREE of these will get major airplay. Be sure it gets airplay in your personal space.