The common denominator of singer/songwriter Michael Franks is not a style but his characteristic voice. He has always been a wanderer between the worlds of Pop, Jazz, Brazilian, New Age and film music.

His multitude of albums have given him a wide following, even among numerous musicians such as Ringo Starr, Natalie Cole, The Carpenters, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Diana Krall, Lyle Lovett, Al Jarreau, Carmen McRae, The Manhattan Transfer and Patti LaBelle.

The Music In My Head (2018) is Michael's 18th album and his first after a hiatus of seven years. His previous album was Time Together on Shanachie Entertainment. Joining Michael on his new project are producer/arrangers Gil Goldstein, Scott Petito, Charles Blenzig and former Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip, along with stellar guest musicians such as guitarist David Spinozza, saxophonists Bob Mintzer, Eric Marienthal and Gary Meek, late guitarist Chuck Loeb (Fourplay), and for the first-time pianist Rachel Z.

As Long As We're Both Together is in itself a soulful ode to the long-standing love and the hope that everything lasts longer. A sad double meaning has the piece achieved by the fact that guitarist and longtime friend Chuck Loeb, who produced the piece and shaped, due to his illness could not continue to contribute to the album and died shortly thereafter.

Suddenly Sci-Fi is inspired by the science fiction writings of Philip K. Dirk. The song is produced and arranged by Gil Goldstein, who also plays piano. The piece in a Brazilian samba partido alto rhythm is perfectly implemented by David Spinozza (guitar), Jay Anderson (acoustic bass), Romero Lubambo (acoustic rhythm guitar) and Rogerio Boccato (percussion).

The Idea of a Tree leads Michael into equatorial botany. The jazz oriented piece features Rachel Z on keyboards and piano and Bob Mintzer on sax, unfortunately to short to place a solo. The romantic Bluebird Blue loses itself in love adoration, a moment of final bliss.

To Spend the Day With You caresses the time span of togetherness with Michael's very own gentle voice. Rachel Z shines on piano with her picturesque reverie. On the straight-ahead tune Bebop Headshop Michael sings about his memories of the former jazz club in Hermosa Beach, California, The Lighthouse. With a swinging scat song he adapts the jazz band under the guide of pianist Charles Blenzig.

Where You Hid the Truth deals with the loss of a relationship, the question of who is to blame for the separation and the search for the treasure map to lost happiness. Producer and bassist Jimmy Haslip has taken this musical gem under his wing. The Music In My Head is Michael's story of his creative life, his interaction with the voices of nature and its diverse vibrations.

With Candleglow Michael praises the civilizational simplicity of the analog, the original, the non-technical. The return to the twosome inseparableness in pure nature and peace. Waterfall is a lyrical reflection about the long road, which takes a small drop of water from the mouth of an orchid to finally reach the huge waterfall of the Iguacu, which continues to the ocean.

Michael Franks' The Music In My Head offers great musical and literary preciousness with charm and elegance. The album contains a marked variety of audible values that demand attention and time from the listener to experience and enjoy all facets.






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Album Information

Title: The Music In My Head
Artist: Michael Franks
Year: 2018
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Shanachie Entertainment

1 As Long As We're Both Together 6:04
2 Suddenly Sci-Fi 4:35
3 The Idea of a Tree 5:05
4 Bluebird Blue 4:23
5 To Spend the Day With You 6:13
6 Bebop Headshop 4:21
7 Where You Hid the Truth 5:52
8 The Music In My Head 4:57
9 Candleglow 5:43
10 Waterfall 5:28

Further review:

Time Together