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Weinmann, Jeff: Alma Matters

San Francisco Bay area musician Jeff Weinmann earned a degree in vocal performance at the New England Conservatory after which he returned to the west coast where he taught music for many years. Eventually Weinmann gained a reputation as an excellent flautist and drummer. On his new album Alma Matters Weinmann has assembled a huge cast where every song features at least a few different musicians.

Some of the personal included are the aforementioned Weinmann (flute, vocals), Peter Apfelbaum (keyboards, vocals, tenor sax, piano, flute, drums, percussion) and the Cressman family: Jeff Cressman (trombone, flugelhorn, cornet, bass, castanets), Natalie Cressman (trombone, vocals), Sandy Cressman (vocals) and Julianna Cressman (Vocals).

After a short horn intro the album proper begins with "The Unknown" and Natalie Cressman's delightful vocals reminiscent of the iconic Joni Mitchell in her prime. The song is steeped in nostalgia taking the listener back in time with a wonderful approach to soulful jazz including floating keyboards and excellent horn and flute embellishments. On "Shadow Woman" the mood is vibrant including Latin infused percussion and trombone work. The crisp and clear guitar of John Schott also stands out. The light pop oriented jazz of "Use It All" is another melodic highlight brimming with positivity and stellar melodies. It is one of the best earworms on the disc and the fact it's over ten minutes long makes it all the more effective allowing the band to explore an excellent vocal arrangement and deep soulful grooves. Jill Ryan's alto sax solo is certainly a highlight. A gospel/jazzed up heartwarming piano/vocal rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's "A Bridge Over Troubled Water" ends the disc on another high note.

Alma Matters is one of those albums that exudes passion and creativity, a true labour of love for all involved. Excellent indeed.

Track Listing:
1. Intro (0:25)
2. The Unknown (5:49)
3. Shadow Woman (6:28)
4. Use It All (10:45)
5. Hold On (8:38)
6. Get Involved (5:24)
7. Nobody's Fault But Mine (6:37)
8. You'll Never Follow (5:52)
9. Gospel Sermon (8:15)
10. Wade In The Water (6:25)
11. Bridge Over Troubled Water (4:49)

Added: May 13th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Facebook Page
Hits: 1498
Language: english

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