This elegant and funky follow-up to the saxman's debut Foreward carries the cool vibe of that disc to deeper extremes while also showing a richer diversity in the veteran saxman's artistry. Jaared's chief alto sax influence is David Sanborn, and he's been inspired in recent years by Nelson Rangell. Yet going back further, he's a huge fan of legends like Ace Cannon, Boots Randolph, and Stan Getz. He delves into a bit of fusion and even bebop on "Searchlight." There's a colorful Latin flavor on "Ibizi," written by keyboardist and label founder Marcus Johnson about an island off the coast of Spain (the track features guitarist Ken Navarro). The previous year, Jaared had been doing numerous Midwest and East Coast dates with guitarist Peter White, and this joyful experience is reflected in "Happy Time," a spirited light funk gem featuring the guitarist's trademark acoustic style. While a solid songwriter and producer in his own right, Jaared loves the art of collaboration and on Hangtime hands the production reins to Johnson (who produces five tracks and co-produced another) and Nate Smith (who does four tracks). Johnson's include the heavy grooving "Make It Happen," which was originally written by keyboardist Patrick Cooper as an intro theme to the nationally syndicated, D.C.-based talk show 8101; the lush, Latin-tinged "Ibiza"; a unique, percussive twist on Ambrosia's "How Much I Feel," featuring Jaared himself singing the vocal chorus; a beautifully intimate reading of Poco's "Crazy Love," performed as a duet with guitarist Stan Cooper; and the bouncy, optimistic "Happy Time." Johnson co-produced the heavily urban-vibed "Sensation" with Jackiem Joyner, another saxman signed to Marimelj, who wrote and recorded the original demo of the song. Though Jaared's primary instrument is the alto sax, this tune is a beautiful showcase for his incredible soprano virtuosity. The set closes with a live, heartfelt version of "Foreward: I Love You," the title track from Jaared's debut.
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran
feat: Ken Navarro
feat: Peter White