Ken Navarro

In My Wildest Dreams

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After showing off a more edgy, aggressive side of himself in a live setting on the simultaneous CD and home video release Ablaze in Orlando, Ken Navarro gets back to his trademark, free-spirited, and plucky (mostly) acoustic guitar ways on In My Wildest Dreams (Positive Music). One of the genre's most consistent purveyors of instantly catchy tunes and swaying funk rhythms which are the musical equivalent of the bright colors found on the cover of this CD, Navarro mostly keeps the melodies sunny over rhythmic bases which range from slow grooving hip-hop to more throbbing bass and drum foundations created by Gary Grainger (who plays both instruments). On the title track, Navarro conveys the sense of achieving those smooth jazz dreams by contrasting an opening low tone melody with a higher, happier timbre, as if moving from darkness to light. He waits till track nine to really turn up the heat, but rewards our patience with the pounding, Marcus Miller like throb tune "Sky Fi," on which a swinging Navarro modulates his nylon string to sound like a steel string, and Eric Marienthal goes crazy on the alto as Grainger's crunchy percussion bounces underneath. Navarro's longtime keyboardist Jay Rowe dashes off several beautiful piano solos, but has even more fun creating (on synth) a simmering blues organ sheen on the retro-soul flavored "Street Smarts."

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