Thursday, June 30, 2005

Man with the mouth trumpet

Raúl Midón - State of Mind

Raúl Midón
This caught me totally by surprise... this cat appeared on Letterman last night (link to video here - via stereogum) and blew my mind. First the guitar playing is phenomenal, a soulful cross between Richie Havens and George Benson. Vocally he's a little Donny Hathaway, a little Stevie Wonder, a little Jose Feliciano. Then he gets to the solo and plays the most amazing mouth-trumpet I've ever heard.

The album is all the things I mentioned above. Midón (who's blind) is the the son of an African American mother and an Argentinean father, and he incorporates both rich traditions into his music. It's always amazing to me that someone can pop on the scene like this chock full of hits and sounding of such rich experience (Ray Lamontagne being another great example that comes to mind.) The album sways easily in and out of soul, R&B, pop, folk, jazz and Latin. Heart-felt lyrics sung with a voice steeped in soul. I started thinking Donny Hathaway shortly before Midón started singing his name (in his great homage to Hathaway, "Sittin' In the Middle.") In his jazzier turns, he invokes some George Benson in his vocal-guitar matching lines. I know this might sound a bit derivative, but it all feels quite genuine and original in it's actual form - thanks to the minimal production from Arif Mardin (and his son Joe.)

Stevie Wonder appears throughout, singing a duet ("Keep On Hoping" his best appearance in a loooong time) and sprinkling a couple harmonica solos here and there. Jason Mraz sings on a track as well, making for an interesting mix.

Also noticed these great live performances now on



drake leLane said...

Raul Midon - State of Mind

* "State of Mind" - Raul Midon
* "If You're Gonna Leave" - Raul Midon
* "Keep On Hoping" - Raul Midon
* "Mystery Girl" - Raul Midon
* "Waited All My Life" - Raul Midon
* "Everybody" - Raul Midon
* "Expressions of Love" - Raul Midon
* "Sittin' In the Middle" - Raul Midon
* "Suddenly" - Raul Midon
* "Never Get Enough" - Raul Midon
* "Sunshine" - Raul Midon
* "I Would Do Anything" - Raul Midon
* "All In Your Mind" - Raul Midon

Anonymous said...

Nice review, buts its Jason Mraz dueting on "Keep On Hoping"