Bruce Von Stiers
It seems like forever ago that I was introduced to the music of Mindi Abair. I was sent Mindi's album, Come As You Are, to review. That album just blew me away. Not only was Mindi a fantastic saxophone player, she had a terrific voice.
Since that time, I've had the opportunity to review a few more of Mindi's albums. Those albums include Wild Heart and one she did with The Boneshakers and last year's The Best of Mindi Abair.
This year finds Mindi with a brand new album. This album is titled Forever. It is being released by Mindi's own label, Pretty Good For A Girl Records.
The album has ten songs and a play time of forty-three minutes. It was produced by Mindi and Bud Harner. Besides having worked with Mindi before, Bud has worked with artists such as Barry Manilow, Spyro, Gyra, Gerald Albright, David Benoit and Keiko Matsui. Roy McClurg was the album's executive producer. He had the same function of two of Mindi's other albums, along with working on albums by Michael Lington, Darryl Williams and Shawn Amos.
Forever was recorded at the Stagg Street Studios and mixed at The Surf Shack Studios, both noted L.A. area music studios. The person behind the recording, engineering and mixing was Niko Bolas. His credits include work on recent albums by Willie Nelson, Melissa Etheridge, Neil Young and Robert Cray.
Mindi assembled a “A List” group of musicians to play on the album. Abraham Laboriel, Jr. was the drummer. He played on Mindi's early album, Stars, and was a good friend and classmate of hers at Berklee College of Music. For the last couple of decades, Abraham has been the drummer for Paul McCartney. You may know Sean Hurley as being a member of John Mayer's band. He plays the bass on this album.
Tim Pierce played guitar on the album. From Beth Hart to Neil Diamond to the Pet Shop Boys, Tim has played on a humongous amount of albums. He was in the film Al Pacino film, Danny Collins, where he played guitar to Mindi's saxophone. Tim also played on the Goo Goo Dolls song, Iris, which Mindi has stated is her favorite appearance of his. Besides guitar, Tim also plays the mandolin and what Mindi calls a “vibey” slide guitar on the album.
Rodney Lee has been Mindi's keyboard player for almost two decades. He's been the musical director for numerous Dave Koz's jazz cruises and has recorded a series of children's albums under the name Groove Kid Nation. For this album, Rodney plays both the piano an B3 organ.
Other people helping out on the album were Wayne Rodrigues on programming and drum programming and Nick Lane on horn arrangements. Third Richardson played drums on two songs and Ben White was on bass for a song. And Tyrone Stevens added his talents as well.
There was some backing vocals on the album. Those were performed by a group called The Rainbows. The group consisted of Mindi , Steve Perry, Abe Laboriel ,Jr. and Melanie Taylor. From sharing the stage with some of the top names in the music world, Melanie has been in numerous television programs such as Parenthood, The Emmy Awards and The Voice. And Steve Perry is now a solo artist but was once the lead vocalist for the rock band Journey. I saw Steve and Journey in concert during their Frontiers tour back in the day.
As for Mindi, besides doing lead vocals, she plays the alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones.
The album opens with Fine Wine and Vinyl. It features Mindi on vocals. It is a great, toe tapping song that tells us that she's not ever “going out of style, like fine wine and vinyl.”
You can definitely hear Mindi's signature sax sound on the title track, Forever. It is a head bopping tune with some cool drum and guitar backing Mindi. And near the end, there was some super cool B3 music thrown in.
Call Me By Your Name is a pop rock flavored love song. It features Mindi's vocals and has some great horn music. Mindi comes in with some sax in the song. Mindi co-wrote the song with Eric Bazilian, who played acoustic guitar, mandola and transistor organ on it too.
Alive is a cool song with a sliver of rock infused into it. There is some nice harmonizing vocals blended into the song near the end of it.
Say It With Love features Raul Malo, joining Mindi on vocals. Raul, the frontman for The Mavericks, does a great job here. And Mindi is terrific with both vocals and sax on the song. Like the title suggests, this is song about love.
April is actually a song that was previewed on last year's The Best of Mindi Abair. Mindi plays alto sax on the song, which reminds me of some of her early music that made me a fan.
There is a killer, rock infused song on the album. It is What About Love. Besides terrific vocals and sax by Mindi, there is some great horn music from Rick Braun. And there's some decent backing vocals as well. But what is awesome about the song is that Kenny Wayne Shepherd comes in with some amazing guitar solos.
Beginning as an haunting vocal ballad, there is a terrific anthem with Where There's A Woman There's A Way. Andrew Joslyn played violin and viola on the song. And Eli Weinberger played cello. Mindi co-wrote the song with Jim Peterik of Ides of March and Survivor fame.
Mindi provides a bit more upbeat, instrumental, cover of the James Morrison song, Nothing Ever Hurt Like You.
The album closes with Midnight In San Francisco. It is a beautiful, yet almost sad sounding song. It made me think of something that might be played as a last chance / last dance song.
I've always been a big fan of saxophone music, whether it be classic or modern jazz or even blended into pop and rock songs. Mindi Abair is one of the best saxophone players I have ever listened to. She has a unique musical styling that can be heard through many of her songs. With this new album, Forever, Mindi has once again shown how talented she is.
Forever was just released. You can find it on amazon or other music outlets. The album can also be streamed on Spotify and Apple Music.
And if you're so inclined, you can purchase a signed copy of the album from Mindi's web site. Mindi's official web site is https://www.mindiabair.com/
Back to the BVS Reviews Main Menu
© 2022 Bruce E Von Stiers