Here’s one for the Brexiteers who claim that Europeans can’t co-operate! Take a renowned Spanish music label (Contante & Sonante) add a Finnish musician (Tomi Malm) and put ’em together with a team of top session players (including as fair sprinkling from the USA). Get them to work on quality tunes – with English lyrics -and you have a top album that spans the worlds of pop, sweet soul and smooth jazz.
Album in question is ‘Walkin’ On Air’ and the marquee name on it is TOMI MALM. Yes, young Tomi hails from Finland and for the last 20 or so years he’s built up an impressive musical CV. He’s worked on several albums and contributed to numerous film and TV scores, but oddly, ‘Walkin’ On Air’ is his first solo release. “Solo” though is not quite right. Helping Mr M deliver is a whole host of top players and vocalists including Vinnie Colaiuta, John “JR” Robinson, Simon Phillips,Robbie Buchanan, Luis Conte, Eric Marienthal and Brandon Fields.
The album is named for the set’s catchiest track – the wonderful slab of blue-eyed soul that is ‘Walkin’ On Air’. Vocalist is former Chicago singer Jason Scheff and if you like Paul Carrack (with the bonus of some nifty mellow moment Tower Of Power brass work), you’ll love this… great melody full of hooks and optimism! amongst the other up-beat moments is ‘Let’s Get To It’ – full of the flavour of the more commercial sides of Kool and the Gang.
If you like ballads, the album offers plenty with ‘Perfect Imperfection’ taking honours here at SJF. Singer here is Jeff Pescetto and there’s a definite Burt Bacharach feel to this one.
Add to those a couple of imaginative instrumentals and you have an intriguing, varied and always accessible sweet soul/smooth jazz/ adult pop album. And its provenance shows that great music doesn’t always come from obvious sources.