Review By: Keivu G. Knox
Arno Haas “Back To You”
Label: Mocher Music/Skytown Records
I’m always intrigued by reviewing an album by someone that I’m not familiar with. That way I am able to look at the album without comparing it to prior work. Although saxophonist Arno Haas is a new name to me, he has been touring and performing for almost 30 years. His newest album, Back To You, not only serves as a proper follow-up to 2013’s Magic Hands, but a great starting point for newer fans like me!
There’s nothing wrong with having guests on your album, and Haas gets the cream of the crop with Al Jarreau’s vocals on “Lucky Chance.” Another great vocal performance comes from Evelyn Laplander on “When Love Is Real. However, the strength in this album is not the guests, but the sheer quality of the songs that compose it.
If you’re looking for a nice song to ride to. “Chick Flick” will capture your attention. “Mr. Valerie” features Randy Waldman on piano and will satisfy those that love a great melody. I played “Creepin’ Shadows for my wife and she called it a perfect song to “have a drink, make a bath, relax and enjoy.” I would agree with her 100%!
Haas does a lot to keep you engaged with this album, especially the second which is full of great grooves. “Check Yourself gives other musicians a chance to showcase their talents. “Wake Up Smile” has a flow that will truly keep a smile on your face with a George Benson like guitar driving the melody. The albums closer. “Just Got To Do It,” is my favorite song on the album with a breezy melody captured by a great horn section featuring Haas, Chuck Findley and Jamie Hovorka on trumpet, and Reggie Young on trombone.
Arno Haas, with this album, was able to avoid the “sophomore jinx” and has won me over as a fan. This project should make everyone’s summer playlist.