While quietly setting numerous standards both musically and technically in the jazz recording field, Digital Music Products has prided itself on pushing numerous stylistic envelopes, from the tasty pop fusion of Flim & the BB's and the Fantasy Band to the artsy, straight-ahead skinning of Joe Morello. Expanding its palette even further, the Stamford, Connecticut based company enters the New Adult Contemporary realm for the first time with the sly and seductive half-vocal, half-instrumental Follow Me by the new ensemble Thursday Diva. Mesmerizingly rhythmic, melodic, and tailor-made for late-night sensuality, Thursday Diva features the merging talents of producer, composer, percussionist, and keyboardist David Charles and composer, lyricist, and song stylist Lisa Lombardo, along with slick, all-star contributions from Michael Brecker, Nelson Rangell, and labelmate Chuck Loeb. The current project was a natural evolution from Junkyard, the successful 1992 collaboration between Charles and mallet virtuoso David Friedman. Lombardo's notable vocal contributions inspired Charles to create an album showcasing her sultry way with a sophisticated, low-key pop tune. Though many of the tunes entertain solid and engaging pop hooks, the music here is less about hit songs than creating an overall mood through subtle vibes, expertly placed solo spots within simple and breezy atmospheric frameworks, and the throaty passion of Lombardo. Tracks like "Take Away My Fear" and "All I Knew" combine the best elements of her charms with Charles' sense of cool, rhythmic intensity, while the hip, uptempo "No More Ghosts" displays hints of moderate aggression. Listeners trying to figure out the exact effect this husband-and-wife tandem is shooting for need only to listen to the easygoing, rolling motions in the arrangement of "Chain of Fools," which takes on a much more poignant slant at a more languid tempo.
Follow Me Review
by Jonathan Widran