Nominee at the 10th annual LA Music Awards
Solar Wind is a high-energy contemporary jazz band out of Los Angeles. With a perfect blend of smooth jazz and fusion, Solar Wind’s sound transcends today’s contemporary jazz.
The debut CD, “Grand Tour Alignment” 1999, received national and international airplay, and garnered rave reviews in several national publications including Jazziz, Jazz Times, Music Connection, Bassics, and Bass Frontiers. The CD was also nominated for jazz album of the year at the 2000 Los Angeles Music Awards.
For the band’s second release, bassist, composer, producer and bandleader, Sean Mason has compiled a set of original tunes that go beyond the boundaries of smooth jazz.
“Blue Horizon” boasts several radio friendly tracks as well as some real hard-hitting fusion and features guest artists that include smooth jazz radio mainstays David Benoit and Eric Marienthal. Also performing on the album are keyboardist Marc Hugenberger, drummer Paul Kaiser, and guitarist Eric Robson.
This second release by the band has catapulted Solar Wind to new heights. To date, over 150 radio stations across the U.S. have had Blue Horizon on their playlists. International radio exposure as well as rave reviews from JazzTimes magazine, Smoothjazz.com, and JazzReview.com have helped Solar Wind gain a large and loyal audience.
Mason’s electric bass is the dominant force of this CD, using the instrument as both foundation and melody on several cuts. With a mix of thumping, plucking, picking and strumming, the bassist sets the pace for Solar Wind’s contemporary instrumental collage. Mason credits the influences of Stanley Clarke, Jack Bruce, Jaco Pastorius, Al DiMeola, and John Patitucci for helping to develop his style.
While Mason’s flair for colorful grooves and melodies allow a handful of the eleven tunes to fit comfortably in the smooth jazz pocket, Solar Wind’s second release “Blue Horizon” also features more intense funk, blistering electric jazz fusion, a bit of mystical new age and on one track, an ode to dramatic film scoring. Also making appearances on Blue Horizon are guitarist Eric Robson, who co-wrote the album’s single release “Catalina Breeze”, keyboardist Marc Hugenberger and drummer Paul Kaiser.
There’s a universal appeal to the Solar Wind sound, and the CD has a finger right on the pulse of modern instrumental music. “Shoreline Drive” and “Sedona Sunrise,” both featuring Benoit and Marienthal, are two radio-friendly tracks sure to generate airplay on smooth jazz stations everywhere.
THE REVIEWS ARE IN: “I naturally love the opening track titled “Shoreline Drive”… tracks that will appeal to radio, very funky… an album for music enthusiasts… excellent musicianship, interesting melodies, fusion cuisine,… full-bodied effort with great character.” Smoothjazz.com. “Blue Horizon” has the right potential for Smooth Jazz radio stations… explosive!” Smooth & Soul. It has a strong pulse, and passion, Blue Horizon traverses a lot of ground, moving well from style to style. Great sounds, a pleasing record for bassists and lovers of seriously nice music. Bass Inside Magazine. A fusion activated sound energy ride to jazz utopia… this CD plays large and is definitely ear candy at its sweetest. A neatly wrapped sound package of delight. After 11 tracks of beautifully crafted jazz of a uniquely different flavor, I was hooked on what Solar Wind had to say… sure to be one of the jazz highlights of 2003. If this is only the second outing from Solar Wind and company, we can expect the jazz world to be refreshed for a long time to come. JazzReview.com
Under the new independent label Solar One Records, Mason, hailing originally from Detroit, aims to bring Solar Wind to the forefront of smooth jazz by involving world class musicians for recordings and live performances, employing marketing strategies that include national radio and retail promotions and by utilizing marketing tools now available to independent artists like the internet. “Our primary focus is and always will be music,” Mason says. “While it is important to evolve musically, we realize that creativity is boundless and limitless as long as there is inspiration, and multi-media encourages creative expansion. The whole idea behind Solar Wind is sight, sound and imagination.”
Capitalizing on the appeal that the first album generated, Mason continues the theme of having “something for everyone” on the sophomore release.
“Musically, I always play it straight from the heart, and then put it out to see how the feelings transfer to those who listen,” he adds. “Blue Horizon” is just the next step towards realizing our goal of reaching our potential as creators and artists.”
Bold and innovative, daring yet smooth and irresistible, and orbiting soon at radio and retail, Solar Wind invites you on a musical journey you won’t soon forget.