Barry Aiken - Balboa Park

Balboa park is America's largest urban cultural park. More than 15 museums, the San Diego Zoo and more facilities are highlights of this attraction. Balboa Park is also the title of Barry Aiken's new album (2004). Barry is a Canadian born composer now living in San Diego. As proud owner of an own music studio, studio keyboardist and professional composer of film music this album is his special child. 

"Balboa Park" encompasses many of the musical elements and styles I have come to love and listen to over the years. I'm very proud of the music on this CD as I think it incorporates the three elements of music composition that most interest me - strong melodic, harmonic and rhythmic ideas." 

The musicians of this project are Scott Frost (drums), Erick Hailstone (guitar), Sandin Wilson (bass), Keely Whitney (lead and background vocals), Mike Winkle (lead and background vocals), Chuck Everett (guitar), Jay "Bird" Koder (guitar), Chris Chard (bass), Mike Snyder (drums), Nick Schilling (guitar) and James Armstrong (guitar). Barry plays keyboards, bass programming, guitar and is also vocalist on parts of the album.

The title song features a remarkable instrument: the organ. Probably the melodious sound of this instrument and the salsa piano play are the spice in this musical soup. Very expressive Sandin Wilson's fretless bass.

Travel 2 North is a smooth contemplative melody with atmospheric depth. Again organ and synth sound are leveling the tune over average.

Step It Up is the first vocal R&B piece featuring Keely Whitney's impressive voice. She is obviously inspiring Barry's keyboard and Erick Hailstone's funky guitar play. The tune is well arranged and is absolutely recommendable for radio play.

Lead instrument of Too Little Time is Sandin Wilson's bass. With the exception of a short piano and a further guitar break the bass is the main interpreter of the melody. 

Sending A Message has some funk elements. I like Barry's piano phrases added to the melody. That's making music vivid.

The word contemplation is often used for slow tunes. This time it's the title and character of the next instrumental song. The tune is drifting into the New Age area.

The second vocal song Since You Left Me is featuring the singer Mike Winkle. Mike has a perfect intonation. I am wondering that's there is no information about him in the net. There should be an oral history of his rise to fame.

I'll Make Time For You is a tune with epic structure. One can recognize Barry's professional hand for movie scores.

Barry's skills as a piano player are indisputable. Make Up Your Mind is a good example for it. Personally I would like more room for soloing.

Single Life is Keely Whitney's second appearance. Keely has performed with the group "Soul'd Out", Seattle's Premiere Dance Band and is now fronting for "Type A!". She has also sung a lot of jingles for renowned firms, so you will certainly recognize her powerful voice. Congrats to Barry to find this jewel and to compose such an excellent song for her.

Can't Go Back Now has a strong romantic appeal. The tune could be used as a movie score but also has good Smooth Jazz quality.

Not Far From Home has various attitudes. A little bit of Smooth Jazz, Rock, New Age. 

On this album you will find great musicians, great music, superb arrangements, impressing vocals. Don't miss it.

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