Blending infectious pop, funk and soul dynamics with distinctly Asian influences has been the trademark of Michael Paulo's solo career, and the Hawaiian born saxophonist achieves a similar appealing diversity of sounds on Save The Children, his third project as a leader and the debut release on his own label, Noteworthy. Originally released in 1993 on Thailand's Bo-Tree label (and enjoying success in numerous Asian countries), Save the Children showcases Paulo's charismatic alto and soprano energy as well as his strong compositional talents set to various stylistic turns and open to exciting improvisations. The collection also marks the first time that he has taken full artistic control, producing and arranging every song. Highlights include the cleverly titled "Sampled Joe," a spirited tribute to legendary pianist Joe Sample featuring Paulo's silky alto melody over a seductive and melodic keyboard groove that does the Crusaders proud; and "Hip Hop to Jail," whose funky urban grooves recall the most rhythmic aspects of his previous album Fusebox, balancing silk with bubbly fire and synth brass. A lush reading of "When I Fall In Love" was a crowdpleaser but the centerpiece of the album is the gospel flavored title track, with vocalist Paulette Brown leading a children's choir.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran