Wayne Powers returns after 25 years with “If Love Were All”

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Jazz veteran Wayne Powers returns with a new album from Kabockie Records. Powers’ last CD was “Plain Old Me” in 1993. That recording was done with his Los Angeles “Hoi Polloi” band.

Powers’ latest release, “If Love Were All,” is set for release Aug. 3, 2018. The album showcases an unobtrusive soundscape that highlights Powers’ classic, poignant voice. Songs such as “Never Let Me Go,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” and “Just In Time,” exemplify the theme of life and love’s ups and downs. Each makes good use of classic jazz structures and Powers’ voice.

Powers is backed by the following musicians: Ziad Rabie on tenor sax, Keith Davis on piano, Ron Brendle on acoustic bass and Al Sergel on drums.

“Never Let Me Go” by Wayne Powers

The song is essentially a happy one – – with reservations. The theme seems to be, “things are great; but don’t leave.” It is the perspective of someone appreciative of love

A jazzy sprinkle of piano opens the song. The brushed drumming and understated bass gives the song its classic feel. These elements have to be listened for carefully. Powers’ vocals are at the forefront of the soundscape, and it is easy to just focus on them. However, the decidedly pretty, if brief piano showcase, gives the laidback tune a touch of drama. Toward the end, the piano plays its motif a bit stridently, before softening as Powers holds the last few notes.

“You Don’t Know What Love Is” by Wayne Powers

Strident piano notes play just briefly before Powers’ deep voice intones about the conditions that must be met to understand what love is. Instead of being a song directed at one person, it is more like a definition of love from the world-weary perspective of someone who has worked out his own meaning.

The lyrics themselves are an interesting set of verses. Each paints a vignette of situations. “Until you’ve faced the dawn with sleepless eyes/you don’t know what love is”, “lips that taste of tears/lose their taste for kissing” are just two examples of the situations Powers paints for listeners. He doesn’t explain why a person might have lost sleep, but there are reasons integral to love for that to happen.

“Just In Time” by Wayne Powers

The soundscape seems full of just a plaintive piano. Powers’ voice begins in a plaintive mode as well. After the first verse, the soundscape picks up, and the shimmering high-hat and well-behaved clatter of drums augments the snappy piano. The bass showcase is a nice touch. The different moods of the song reflect the theme of the lyrics. At first, the tone is a bit sad, then, the band and the singer swing a bit, and listeners understand that love has arrived to the rescue, just in time.

While the entire album would be appreciated by jazz fans,  other tracks that shouldn’t be missed include the title track and the perennial classic, “East of the Sun (West of the Moon).”

The album will be available for download on most music platforms, as a CD, and in a limited-edition180-gram vinyl double LP. Perfect for audiophiles.

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