Wed, 12 January 2011
Blind since an accident in his first few days of life, Raul Midon is a musician who refuses to be categorized. His guitar playing and sensibilities speak of jazz; his voice a mix of old school R&B and improvisational scat; his songwriting showing influences of any number of genres from around the world.
His latest CD, Synthesis, is produced by bassist Larry Klein, who has worked with other "genre-benders" like Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock. Klein brings an even greater sense of jazz ethos to Midon;s work, adding experienced players like Vinnie Colaiuta (Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa) and Dean Parks (Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder) to the mix. The result is a highly enjoyable collection of songs that focus on Midon's subtle structures for his songs.
A recent conversation with Midon found him readying for an East Coast show before hitting the road to Europe in support of Dianne Reeves. He spoke honestly about the realities of the music business, his development of a home recording studio using cutting edge software, and his musical influences. Click here to listen to our talk, with musical selections from his three albums, including:
"Bonnie's Song" from Synthesis. Although he often plays solo onstage, his latest CD is a band project, which includes Klein on bass, Midon and Parks on guitars, Colaiuto on drums, Jamie Muhoberac on keyboards and Paulinho Da Costa on percussion. His vocal trait of "mouth trumpeting" gets a good workout here.
"Blackbird" from Synthesis. Claiming to be unfamiliar with the Paul McCartney original, Raul puts his own stamp on this classic. Anyone else hear traces of Kenny Rankin here?
"Sittin' in the Middle" from State of Mind. His first CD, released in 2006, allowed Midon the chance to sing with his hero, Stevie Wonder, and write this song as a tribute to the late Donny Hathaway, a vocal influence on Raul.
"Caminando" from A World Within a World. Born to an Argentinean father and African-American mother in New Mexico, there is a strong latin influence in Raul's playing and writing. His love of flamenco music shows in this track.
An Evening with Raul Midon @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (One SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ, 07079) will take place on Sunday, Jan 16 at 7pmTickets: $35, $25. To purchase, visit http://www.SOPACnow.org or call 973.313.ARTS