Wild Heart

Wild Heart

by Mindi AbairMindi Abair




Though saxophonist/vocalist Mindi Abair's last album was 2010's In Hi-Fi Stereo, she's been exceptionally busy as a touring and session musician. Wild Heart picks up where that record left off, albeit in a much rowdier, grimier fashion. It is a self-penned collection of (mostly) ramped-up, funky soul, R&B, and rock tunes, with hints of contemporary jazz thrown in. Its sound is crunchy, fat, and greasy. Electric guitars and bass are mixed right up front with her alto, tenor, and baritone saxes. Abair also enlisted a slew of all-star guests from across the pop spectrum. The slamming, funky, brass- and reed-drenched "Amazing Game" is a tribute to NOLA R&B and jazz and actively engages its other soloist, Trombone Shorty. The chart is tight and meaty and the horn breaks and dueling solos soar. The title track is a grainy modern take on soul-jazz with wah-wah guitars, B-3, and her alto, tenor, and baritone horns framed by Todd Simon's trumpet and Elizabeth Lea's trombone. The single "Haute Sauce" features grimy, old-school (as in Junior Walker) R&B and contains both a stellar alto break and a killer piano solo from Dave Yaden. Aerosmith's Joe Perry lends very basic (a good thing) yet roaring guitar chops to "Kick Ass." It's all riffing and screaming alto dueling with frenetic, in-the-red drumming by Jake Najor. "The Shakedown," with Max Weinberg and Waddy Wachtel, recalls mid-'60s rave-up discotheques and TV themes from teen dance shows. "Addicted to You" is a bluesy, slow-grooving quartet affair with Booker T. Jones on B-3. A couple of tunes don't work; predictably, they are vocal numbers such as "I Can't Lose" and "Train," where Abair's thin voice -- even multitracked -- is no match for the massive sonic attack she assembles. That said, the one place it does succeed is on the closer, "Just Say When," a vocal duet with Gregg Allman. Sans horns, the skeletal tune is framed by a basic rock band playing an effortless meld of Southern Americana and soul. Allman is in excellent voice and Abair's emotive, reedy contralto is the perfect counterpart. It's a hell of a way to end a record. As a whole, Wild Heart builds considerably on the strengths of In Hi-Fi Stereo, and is a much stronger effort overall. Though it pays unapologetic tribute to retro inspirations, it does so with 21st century sophistication, a gritty, raucous spirit, and exceptional creative imagination.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/27/2014
Label: Heads Up
UPC: 0888072340916
catalogNumber: 34091

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mindi Abair   Primary Artist,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Vocals,Hand Clapping
Gregg Allman   Guitar,Vocals,Hammond B3
Joe Perry   Guitar
James Gadson   Drums
Booker T. Jones   Hammond B3
Max Weinberg   Drums
Keb' Mo'   Guitar,Tambourine,Vocals,Soloist
Waddy Wachtel   Guitar
Dave Burris   Electric Guitar
Adam Berg   Organ,Synthesizer,Piano,Tambourine,Hand Clapping
Kevin Scott   Bass
Lance Abair   Organ
Dave Yaden   Piano
Blake Colie   Drums
Elizabeth Lea   Trombone
Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews   Trombone
Jake Najor   Drums
Itai Shapira   Bass,Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Tambourine,Hand Clapping,Soloist
James Peterik   Percussion
Todd Simon   Trumpet,Flugelhorn

Technical Credits

Gregg Allman   Composer
John Burk   Executive Producer
Bud Harner   Executive Producer,Management
Booker T. Jones   Composer
Jim Morris   Engineer
Waddy Wachtel   Composer
John Wydrycs   Engineer
Mindi Abair   Composer,Producer
Adam Berg   Producer,Engineer
Shane Baldwin   Engineer
Matthew Hager   Composer
Dave Yaden   Composer
Patty Palazzo   Cover Design
Candace Devine   Composer
Itai Shapira   Producer,Engineer
James Peterik   Composer
Todd Simon   Producer,Horn Arrangements
Tyrone Stevens   Composer
David Burris   Engineer

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