John Tafaro Music: “Soul Rider” – Hard-grooving and funk-infused Jazz

This is one of John Tafaro Music’s best. This is the smoothest, coolest and grooviest tune I’ve heard this year. What am I talking about? Well, it’s “Soul Rider” – a track off John’s forthcoming album “Forgotten Impressions”. Hearing the imploring soul-sax and the thundering guitar strum joined on record together with the shimmering keyboards suggested that, this music would raise hairs on the neck and put a tear in the eye in rapid succession. Hard-grooving, funk-infused but soulfully confessional music has been pulling non-jazz fans to jazz clubs and records since the 1960s, a trend that few modern artists could better exemplify better than the impassioned composer and arranger, known as John Tafaro Music.

John Tafaro has been producing since the early 90’s, beginning with helping local bands get needed exposure, through his public access show “Turn it Up!!”, since then, after a chance meeting with Mark Tinley, a digital audio expert and who also at one time programmed keyboards for Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran, John decided to take his music production skills to the next level.

John composes and arranges mainly Smooth and Contemporary Jazz. Despite Tafaro’s aforementioned genre preferences, he knows funk and free-jazz well, and his compositions bristle with surprises, telling understatements and elisions.

Tafaro’s composition is incandescent, both in melody support and on the solo breaks. He allows for intricate improvisational lines with tidal-wave chords; pedals the bassline behind the soulful saxophone, and punches out the percussion in uninhibited ways.

No other musician is currently helping legitimize the smooth jazz movement than John Tafaro Music.  But, to label Tafaro as simply a smooth jazz composer is a crime.  His music transcends any one genre.  Yet, one thing remains constant – the groove.  Whether slow or fast, Tafaro always has a soulful rhythm that underlies all his music.

John Tafaro Music mastery of the sax melody is a true delight.  His ability to evoke pure emotion through his composing and arranging is on full display here. Of the course the player adds the killer execution, which makes it a thoroughly enjoyable listen. Tafaro repeats the process with the guitar solo, to make sure variety holds the listener’s attention span.

He’s never sounded stronger or better in his composing. His desire to continue to try different things is rewarding for the listener. Tafaro’s groovy sound is evident no matter what the atmosphere around him is.

John Tafaro Music sets unique and consistently interesting frameworks that inspire any given keyboardist, guitarist or saxophonist towards doing something more inventive and inspiring on his recordings. The bounce, deep resonance and sheer funkiness of “Soul Rider” is as good as anything in the genre.

Smooth and contemporary Jazz is no longer the commercial titan that it was years ago, which in many ways has freed musicians to pursue diverse creative pathways. John Tafaro Music, in this specific case, has pushed it towards soulful funk. The sound he has achieved is serious enough to attract many straight-ahead jazz fans but accessible enough for the majority of the general public.


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