4 out 5 party cups
Being a Dallas native, I may be a tad bit biased. So what! Oh well. Who gon’ check me boo? Sorry, let’s get back to the subject at hand. I believe there is no shortage of talent in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Dallas bred singers and musicians are just second to none. Shaun Martin is a musicians, musician. I can hear Shirley Caesar saying, “you name it” because the boy can do it all from gospel to r&b and jazz. Shaun Martin has the Midas touch. This Grammy award winning musician/producer and cousin in my head, is not only Dallas music royalty but is adorn by the masses. Once you hear his latest jazz effort Focus you will understand.
I judge music, no matter the genre, by its ability to make me holler out when I am listening to it. I mean holler out like I am at holy-ghost filled tent revival service. My unchurched people may not be able to relate. Nonetheless, just know it’s a feeling that touches your spirit in a way and you can’t help but to belt out something in glee.
When Shaun tickles the ivories on the first notes of the opening track Recordame my eyes got big. My heart fluttered a little bit. The track just at a little over five minutes doesn’t disappoint. It’s fun, flirty and makes you want to dance. The bass and drums riffs are a perfect complement to Shaun’s delicate yet intentional efforts on the keys. It has a grown and sexy appeal that will give any man the confidence to approach that fine woman in the red dress he’s been eyeing for 30 minutes at the end of the bar.
Shaun slows it down just a tad on Ms. Genell. This track reminds me of a grandmother. Any one’s grandmother. It took me to the days of eating peanut patties, or butterscotch candies on my grandmother’s porch. The music was sweet and savory yet endearing like a grandmother’s love. Ms. Genell doesn’t exude a lot of fluff. It’s just right. Other standouts include Body and Soul, Festina Lente. I personally could feel the influences of other great jazz pianist Thelonius Monk or Art Tatumn throughout the entire album.
If I had to pick one song that did not stick to me like glue, it would be the title track Focus. While I enjoyed the elements and syncopation of the song but it didn’t make me yearn for me. Speaking of needing a little more, Traid! Shaun, you could have given us at least two more minutes. Just as I was about to pour a little something into my red party cup the song came to a close and I was left a little ravenous. Nevertheless, a luminous end to a gem.
If Shaun’s primary goal is to catch our attention with Focus, he has surely succeed. It’s rich and bountiful. Focus will incite you to open up the blinds, peel back the curtains, get your bleach, broom and mop in hand. You’ll be dusting and wiping down base boards in no time. Pick up this album, it doesn’t disappoint. And if you are fortunate enough to catch this man in concert, please treat yourself. Shaun Martin will always deliver on providing an experience!