JONATHAN BUTLER; Living My Dream (Artistry)

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South African singer/guitarist, Jonathan Butler describes his latest album as “classic Jonathan Butler“: That’s a perfect and concise summation. ‘Living My Dream’ is built from all the elements that we’ve come to expect from Butler LP’s – nothing too demanding, a musical mix of pleasing smooth jazz instrumentals (either acoustic or electric guitar-led), a reasonable mix of tempos and rhythms and the occasional soul-lite vocal – all presented in a clean and polished way.

The album opens with a strong, jaunty ‘African Breeze’ – the set’s catchiest instrumental. The tune was originally written 30 years ago for the Michael Douglas movie ‘The Jewel Of The Nile’. Here it’s given a fresh, contemporary spin and has been wisely chosen as the first single. Amongst the other instrumentals are the Earl Klugh flavoured ‘Be Still’ and the gentle ‘Catmebe’.

The album offers a quintet of vocals with ‘Night To Remember’ and ‘All About Love’ setting themselves up for Quiet Storm play listing. The album’s title cut is a tad too MOR to satisfy soul tastes while ‘Song For You’ is poppy with a Caribbean undertow. The fifth vocal – ‘Heart And Soul’ –is possibly the best – stately, measured and comfortable.

Indeed “comfortable” is a good adjective for the whole album. And the reason? Well, Jonathan we’re told, is living his dream. From a destitute Cape Town slum and growing up with his 12 siblings under the despicable Apartheid regime he now lives the life of a star with the bonus of the dual contentment that a strong family and a firm Christian faith can bring. My word… he even plays golf! ‘Living My Dream’ is a reflection of all that comfort and security.

(BB) 3/5