Indian flutes mixed with Benny Goodman type big brass sounds, smooth jazz crossed with calypso rhythms, and the soulful sound of gospel intertwined with the fire of latin jazz. All these apparently disparate elements, with a touch of sweetness, can be found under the roof of one smoking hot jazzman: sax supreme Dave Panico – ‘The Soaring Saxman’.
Dave proudly presents his new album JoyRid’n, and the name could not be more appropriate. He and his horn take the listener on a musical journey, and joyous it most certainly is.
Brought up on a mix of big bands, rock’n’roll and contemporary church music, Dave Panico found the outlet for his musical gifts in that most expressive of instruments, the saxophone. Playing in bands and as a soloist at college and then for church bands, Dave became an expert on baritone, tenor and, later, alto and soprano saxophones and flutes. Basically, if it’s a horn, he can blow it!
But after years of success with various bands, Dave felt the need to lay down a marker. And that is exactly what he did with his debut CD, Soar. The success of this record spurred him on and now he can finally do what he has always wanted. That is to make a genuine jazz album of 100 per cent original material.
And JoyRid’n aptly demonstrates that Dave is not just a flawless, passionate, intelligent horn player, but that he can write a mean tune too.
Inspired by subjects as diverse as a Cherokee reservation, his own kids dancing and his brother’s wedding (for which one of these tunes was written), this is a record that manages to be contemplative and fun all at once. It is smooth, but it is also electrifying. In brief, it is everything that great jazz should be and so often is not.
This is also a record inspired by something even deeper and more powerful than all those things, as Dave himself explains. "I love to let the Holy Spirit take control while I play," he says. Perhaps that is why his live shows have got such a stellar reputation and why he continues to relish the chance to perform. Perhaps that is why he was named Instrumental Artist of the Year at the 2005 Kansas City Christian Music Awards.
And that is almost certainly why this is a special album from a special musician.