Michael Paulo

My Heart and Soul

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Picture veteran saxman Michael Paulo on a mythical dancefloor, torn between urges to cut loose under the flashing lights and the simple desire to sway while holding his partner close, and the musical imagery of My Heart and Soul comes clear. The great charm of his career has been an uncanny ability to reconcile heart and feet and mix seemingly dichotomous moods to create the "One Passion" promised by the title of his first disc. Here, half the time, he's "Bumpin'" up the funk with bassist Freddie Washington, teasing with a wild soprano excursion, or drawing us into hip-hop land. Then, just as we're joining the party, he tells us the club's closing and offers one last slow dance for the road. David Benoit orchestrates the title track, a soulful centerpiece reminiscent of Paulo's 1989 cover of "Last Tango in Paris." Paulo's love for pop classics finds him covering Stevie Wonder, Nat King Cole, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Artsy production touches, from a cool closing rap on "That's the Way of the World" to a brief June Kuramoto koto interlude, add to the rhythmically diverse atmosphere.

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