DENVER (24 February 2016): Whether it’s with a devastating jazz-funk workout, nasty R&B groove, bellowing gospel soul call or an emotionally-intense melody, saxman Darren Rahn is hitting and hitting hard on “Sonic Boom,” his fifth album and first for Woodward Avenue Records, which is releasing the recording March 4. Responsible for crafting 25 No. 1 singles, Rahn, who produced and wrote all nine originals on the ten tracker, is virtually guaranteed to add to that total with the combustible new set on which he trades blows with chart-toppers Rick Braun, Jonathan Fritzen and Julian Vaughn as well as Rico Wint (vocals) and Robin Eubanks (trombone). The multiple GRAMMY® nominee’s new offering is already off to a powerful start with radio programmers making the lush, horn-ignited “D-Luxe” the No. 1 most-added single on the Billboard BDS chart.
Undaunted by his successes as a solo artist as well as a producer, songwriter and engineer behind some of the biggest instrumental hits by marquee artists over the past decade, Rahn changed his approach on “Sonic Boom” in an effort to elevate his sound, technique and unique artistic expression. On previous releases, he orated through tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, but elected to play tenor exclusively on the forthcoming album to define a singular voice. The record plays and is paced like a live show with each song having a cold ending as opposed to a studio fade. Rahn’s production sounds live and warm, aided in part by his decision to use only real drums, another first. His melody-rich material comes straight from the heart sounding grand and luminous, packing a wallop with potent hooks that are passionately performed. The outing also serves as a showcase for Rahn’s proficiency as a multi-instrumentalist - the sax player also plays piano, keyboards, Hammond organ, vocals, EWI and synth programming on “Sonic Boom.” He makes it a family affair by inviting his brother, Jason Rahn, to play trumpet, flugelhorn and guitar and coaxes his wife, Priscilla, to play flute on the lone cover, a rapturous “Rock With You.” Guitarist Allen Hinds and bassist Mel Brown maintain constant presences on the disc while several drummers (Anthony Steele, Tarell Martin and Anthony Jones) pound out the beats. Vaughn fills in admirably for the late bassist Wayman Tisdale on “Losing You,” a moving musical tribute penned by Rahn for his frequent collaborator and departed friend.
“The idea behind ‘Sonic Boom’ is about real music - inspired music - created with real musicians playing real instruments and presented in a way that plays much like a live set. I wanted to condense my personality down to the very core to concisely express the essence of who I am as an artist. Drawing from the assorted musical styles that form my musical personality and saxophone playing - jazz, funk, R&B, soul, pop, rock, gospel and fusion - I wanted ‘Sonic Boom’ to reflect the diversity of my musical influences and history while at the same time flowing and working as a cohesive collection. In an era when music is often created by taking shortcuts, it was my desire to use the finest analog and digital studio equipment and state-of-the-art techniques while gathering as many of the best studio session players as possible. I wanted to create something that would provide the listener with a truly amazing listening experience, sounding full, warm, punchy, luxurious and exciting. My hope is that people will genuinely be impacted by the music, that it will bring joy and encouragement,” said Rahn about “Sonic Boom,” which will premiere in its entirety on Saturday, February 27 at 10am PT/1pm ET on the SmoothJazz.com site.
The British Columbia native who calls Denver home issued his solo debut, “Soulful,” in 2004. That same year, Rahn produced Tisdale’s No. 1 signature smash “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.” He hit full stride as an artist and producer in 2009 when his “Talk of the Town” reigned supreme at No. 1 on the Billboard chart at about the same time he produced No. 1 hits for Dave Koz, Eric Darius and Tim Bowman. During one particular period of chart domination, he occupied the top three spots and later had four singles in the top 10 simultaneously. Rahn earned GRAMMY® nominations for his work on a pair of Koz albums (“Hello Tomorrow” and “Summer Horns”). His meticulously-constructed sonicscapes have made his deft touch highly sought after, affording him the opportunity to work with Bob James, Kirk Whalum, Norman Brown, Jonathan Butler, Najee, Toby Keith, Jeffrey Osborne, Phil Perry, Nick Colionne and Lebron as well as Fritzen and Vaughn. For more information, please visit www.DarrenRahn.com or www.WoodwardAvenueRecords.com.
The songs contained on “Sonic Boom” are:
“Losing You” (For Wayman)
“Rock With You”
“Promises” (For Priscilla)