Airborne - Heavy Vibes


I recently wrote an article about Smooth Jazz for the German version of the independent encyclopedia Wikipedia. The group Airborne describes their music as "Smooth Jazz & Vocals/Contemporary Jazz". After listening to their music I can state, there is some Jazz. A member of the San Diego-based band Fattburger once joked in an interview that these days anything without words is called Jazz, unless it doesn't have drums -- then it's New Age. So let's stop this endeavor to describe Smooth Jazz at this point. 

Nevertheless Airborne has a hooking potential. Founded in the 80's the group has survived the ups and downs of music business. Today they present an album which let me sit up and take notice. Yes, they are really professionals.

I have a special affinity to rhythm. Airborne has a strong rhythm section with Dean Kosh on drums and Asher Delerme as percussionist. The dynamic starter I See reminds me on the great group "The Rippingtons" especially because the instrumentation of both groups (saxophone, vocals, electric guitar, drums, percussion) is comparable.

The length of most tracks elucidates Airborne isn't tailored for smooth jazz radio but is a live band. Their concert videos appeared on BET , Public Broadcasting, and TV Cable Networks across the USA. The band has been touring and performing at Jazz Festivals, music venues, colleges, and nightclubs in the USA, Europe, and Japan for many years now and since 1992. Trust In Love is featuring the singer Elizabeth Dellinger. There is no further information about her at Airborne's website, although she has an impressing voice worth to investigate her biography. 

Don't await under the title Hip Hop Hip Hop music. The group remains in the contemporary jazz area. Tom Samson has created a great brass section. He is a multi-talented musician playing sax ( tenor, alto, & soprano ) , flute and piano. 

Loves Comes Back presents an awesome duet between Thomas Borino and Elizabeth Dellinger. There is so much musical power in both voices.

The sound of breakers is introducing to the next song Lizard Island. Some Latin flavor is the perfect frame for Thomas Borino fluent piano and Thomas Sansone's flute play.

A Ray Of Hope is a further vocal song presenting anew the wonderful Elisabeth Dellinger. Why so much vocal songs on a jazz album is the upcoming question. The answer is given in an interview: "With addition of our female singer and percussionist to the jazz band we have crossed over to a newer market. With many more vocal tunes we smooth it out." I especially love the end of this song with the a-capella part.

But there is also much instrumental music to find. For example the swinging After The Storm. Anew a great opportunity  for Thomas Borino to showcase his excellent piano skills. When I mention a special artist is that neglecting the group in total. There is so much to explore. An expressive sign of the group is the humming vocal accompany to the instrumental line.

Nicole is some more Bossa Nova. The German band member Dean Kosh and the by Afro-Brazilian music influenced percussionist Asher Delerme's develop a firework of rhythm followed by Elizabeth Dellinger's sure-footed scat. Sounds like the English group Shakatak.

You Are Everywhere is best vocal performance. Who did the fine arrangement especially for the chorus?

There is even some funk on this album in Turn Me Around.  Most instrumental parts are smoothed out by strings. I must state "strings everywhere". Nevertheless one can recognize more of the music itself when the musicians start to improvise. It seems the lead melodies are more important for the group.

To Be Loved is a further love duet which is obviously a strength of this group.

Final tune is Smooth Ride. A laid back instrumental presenting all musicians in a homogeneous formation. One after the another is going to the stage front to say good-bye. 

Excellent musicianship on the whole album!



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