Patrick Bradley releases his fifth album, Exhale, and as the liner notes explain, he draws inspiration from his religious beliefs as well as looking to find some musical respite from 2020’s tumultuous events. Stylistically, Bradley combines contemporary smooth jazz and pop with fusion and prog influences, supported by a variety of superb musicians. Reinvention, for example, features a gritty, climbing guitar solo from Michael Thompson, but otherwise stays firmly in the pop lane, with driving piano and acoustic guitar. The title track uses the late 90s/early 2000s style of soft, shimmering synths and electronic drums, with a simple, repeated melody.
Session guitarist Allen Hinds appears regularly throughout the album, with one especially notable moment being his bluesy playing on the eighth track, Lighthouse. For most of the tracks the drumming is performed by Tarell Martin, although Gary Novak also makes several appearances, first on the second track, and then on the fifth, Sip’N The Breeze, in which he keeps a steady, reserved rhythm throughout the light, R&B/funk inspired piece.
The final track features jazz-drum legend Dave Weckl, of course probably best known for his work with the late Chick Corea. Called Walk With Me, it is more prog-rock-influenced than any of the others, and Weckl contributes a classic drum beat, but stands out with some excellent fills.
While much of the album is pop and smooth jazz orientated, Bradley draws on a mixture of influences, and with the excellent musicianship, there are some great moments. Exhale is not a challenging listen, but is definitely a pleasant one.
Completely Yours; Reinvention; Exhale; Song Of May; Sip’ N The Breeze; Cat Man Blues; Meant To Be; Lighthouse; In The Heart Of The Seas; Providence; Walk With Me (49.02)
Patrick Bradley (p, org, syn, kyb); Darren Rahn (as, ts,kyb, syn, pc); Allen Hinds (g); Mel Brown (b); Jeff Lorber (kyb, syn, g); Michael Thompson (g); Tarell Martin (d); Dave Weckl (d); Gary Novak (d), and others.
Patrick’s Song Factory