Aria Stone – One Thing Leads To Another – Album Review
Before I crack into all the social-media and internet pages for all you wonderful musicians out there, it’s nice to just let the music hit me without any information preceding. The gift of music and the true joy of surprise when it’s combined just right…those magical moments when we get to hear something we love that we didn’t even know we loved yet; and I’m in one of those now.
I’ve always loved the sound of the saxophone…though I can’t recall ever having reviewed an entire album’s worth of saxo-phonic music before like I am today with One Thing Leads To Another by Aria Stone. And after listening to her soulful & emotional playing…I’m kinda wondering why it is that I haven’t had more of this style of smooth jazz come my way over these past years…
Starting out with “Rise And Shine,” you couldn’t ask for a more fabulous introduction to a player’s genuine skillset & obvious lifelong passion. What Aria Stone has…is that rare gift that only some players truly have; the ability to really communicate authentic emotion through an instrument – you can feel the passion in her playing as she brings life to every note she plays. It’s honestly excellent, and again, a great experience into the sound & scope of what Aria Stone seeks to pull off on One Thing Leads To Another.
She instantly tackles another aspect of music as she takes to the microphone for “Drive” following the opening track. It’s an aloof, smooth-jazz number with just incredible sounds coming from that saxophone. What do the call that purposeful-warble…I think that’s a trill isn’t it? Whatever it is – Aria Stone proves it’s not missing the mark as you might at first think; she’s rolling this along with tremendous control and virtuoso-type skills. Vocally she’s brought in some sweetness here on this song through a bright melody and convincing performance.
But I suppose…what we’re here for is really the saxophone, which, while I do quite like the sound of Aria’s voice…I can’t help but perhaps love those sax-sounds slightly even more. Let’s face it – if this were awful, listening to six-plus minutes of “Sometimes” would be incredibly painful…try six minutes of anything with a brass-instrument that isn’t played well. For those of you parents out there, just close your eyes and picture your kid attempting to learn trumpet, trombone or saxophone and you’ll know what kind of pain we COULD have been in, if not for Aria Stone here. Her instincts are incredible; listening to her walk the saxophone all over “Sometimes,” show the heart of a fearless artist who’s both not afraid to try something, but also the incredible foresight to know where she’ll end up in a solo and how to adapt beautifully as the song rolls along.
Trading the saxophone in for a gorgeous flute-sound, “Float” sounds dreamy. With an interesting-twist…this is a difficult track to sing for sure; I’m not sure if Aria’s having a little trouble with this one, or if it truly sounds as awesome as intended. To me there’s a certain beauty in the struggle for art that you can’t fake your way through; artists like Thom Yorke, Michael Stipe have that. I’d say there’s an element of that beauty here on “Float;” personally I dig those vocals but I can hear that to some they might sound not as ‘on’ as I tend to hear them. It’s a hypnotic piece of jazz-pop…I’m a big fan of just how much these sounds of Aria Stone have really just allowed my mind to wander off to incredible places all while listening to these sensational melodies.
“Ferris Wheel” is an interesting track. Almost like a Pink Floyd track in a way…some real Rick Wright-ish keyboards goin on here and bass to match…it’s a great sound. Aria struggles slightly with the vocals on this one before launching into another immaculate sax solo; the drift-out of it is a wicked idea as around the three minute-mark it dissolves into a balloon-like squeak, appropriate for “Ferris Wheel.” It’s an extremely tough song to sing, right at the top of the register for Aria who makes much more successful runs at the challenging chorus as the song goes on and she builds strength.
The inviting and warm tones of both the music and Aria’s vocals on “Light” have made it an instant-hit with me. I love the melody line of the saxophone in this song as it leads into the verse. With style & a little bit of extra swagger, Aria hits this track smoothly over the microphone and delivers a really fantastic tone through the verse of this song. Saxophone drifting in between the verses and chorus echo the sentiment and emotion in the song extremely well; some of my favourite choices on the album are made in this song. Leaning on the pop-side of her smooth-jazz once again, this song really hits home.
Our Australian friend shows no sign of letting up as it pops into “Happy Day.” Definitely what I’d consider jazz for sure, the bass is just killin’ it back there with a super-funked out line that in any other act would be the lead in the song; but with another stellar performance on the sax, Aria Stone displays the fantastic skillset she’s achieved that led to her having this full album. Keeping it up-tempo, playful and fun…she’s celebrating Christmas a little early…or late…not sure which…with “Every Day Is Christmas.” I like the avant-garde style of her vocals in this song and the free-to-roam saxophone solos that are full of the tone and sound that have made this album excellent to listen to.
I mean…just make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into…it’s smooth-jazz dear readers, not what you reach for when you’re looking to rock…
But when you’re looking to smooth things out nicely and find yourself in a real world of artistic atmosphere…put on “Dream” and float away with this smoky-jazz tune. The emotion in both her vocals and the saxophone on this song are just killer…really well-communicated feelings through the music & words. It’s mysterious, well-performed, fantastic harmonies and just the right amount of theatrics without being overly-dramatic. The slow-intensity of “Dream,” is executed to perfection and provides an undeniable must-listen-to highlight right before the very end of One Thing Leads To Another.
In a shining last-moment, Aria Stone claims a rightful spot in jazz if you ask me; she’s done some tremendous things here on this album and certainly throughout this final song “Cloud Dancing.” For a final song this cut plays out like a warm invitation to join Aria all over again for a repeat listen. A multi-talented multi-instrumentalist; there’s a lot of impressive skills shown here throughout One Thing Leads To Another…with an astounding 90% of them purely coming from Aria alone.
And while 100% would be just as fair to say with her beautiful saxophone tones and harmonic vocal melodies…I still have to be objective & fair in these reviews. And in saying that – I think I have to hand the bass-player at the very least 10% of my amazement and half of my heart…
Excellent and thoroughly enjoyable experience all the way through – Australia’s own Aria Stone is making impressive, smooth & stylistic jazz-music that certainly warrants your time and ear-space.
Find out more from her official pages!
Aria Stone Homepage: http://www.unitymusic.com.au/#!aria-stone/c1p80
Aria Stone Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ariastone.smoothjazz
Aria Stone Bandcamp: https://ariastone.bandcamp.com/
Aria Stone YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/AriaStone
Find the Aria Stone album One Thing Leads To Another direct here at CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ariastone
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