MINDI ABAIR: Wild Heart (Heads Up)


‘Wild Heart’ is acclaimed sax girl, Mindi Abair’s eighth solo album and it’s her most collaborative effort to date. Guests on the new 11 tracker include the great Booker T, Keb’ Mo’, Trombone Shorty, Gregg Allman, Joe Perry, Max Weinberg and Waddy Watchel. A goodly portion of rockers there and it will therefore come as no surprise for you to learn that a goodly number of the cuts are AOR. If you’re broad minded musically there is, of course, nothing wrong with that but died-in-the-wool soul and jazz fans will probably baulk at ‘I Can’t Lose’, ‘Kick Ass ‘ (scorching guitar from Aerosmith’s Joe Perry), ‘The Shakedown’ and ‘Just Say When’. That latter is the best of the bunch. Featuring Gregg Allman, it’s country tinged acoustic rock and a decent tune to boot!

What is there here then to trouble soul and jazz collectors? Well the opening cut is a raucous old school soul groove. Sure ‘Amazing Game’ owes much to Wilson Pickett’s version of ‘Land Of 1,000 Dances’ – but what great source material… and shaken and stirred by Trombone Shorty! ‘I’ll Be Your Home’ is another highlight. This is a vocal duet with Keb’ Mo’ and the flavour’s country-soul, enhanced by Booker T’s churchy organ. The great Mr Jones is there too on the steamy ‘Addicted To You’ – a great instrumental by anyone’s standards…. kind of The MGs meet Junior Walker.

For the rest, well it’s fairly standard smooth jazz with tracks like ‘Kiddio’s Revenge’ and the LP’s title cut vying in jauntiness.

A real mixed bag, this, but those Booker T collaborations are worth investigating.

(BB) 3/5