I have been a fan of Paul “Shilts” Weimar since his Down to the Bone Days. I followed him from the start of his solo career through four previous solo albums. With each release, Shilts has shown where he can go with his writing and playing. He’s got the groove and the funkiness to get people up and moving, but now he HAS
grown up. From the first listen of his new CD, All Grown Up
, I felt like I was listening to a new Shilts, an adult Shilts. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t any stuffy, dinner music here, but there is a sense of sophistication from start to finish of the record.
On all ten original tracks, Shilts plays tenor sax but brings in some other heavy hitters in the jazz word, such as Bill Steinway, Gerey Johnson, Jay Rowe, Allen Hinds, and vocalist Siedah Garrett. The tunes bring together soul, jazz, R&B, and funk along with catchy melodies. Opening the album is the title track which starts out sounding like an instrument tune-up session and then moves into a groovy, all sax, and melodic tune with just enough of a horn section backup. “Since I Found You” features Bill Steinway on the organ and almost sounds like a “Georgia”-type song when it starts out. It’s a sweet, old sounding track. “The Test of Time” combines the tenor sax with the trombone of Richard Sherringham. What a terrific sound! It’s an upbeat melody that you can’t help but dance along to, and the trombone solo echoes an era of big band music.
The opening piano notes of “Wink” let you know right away that this is going to be a romantic melody. Shilts knows how to work that tenor to give you the feel of a smoky club of days gone by. It’s a beautiful song to close your eyes to and really listen. “Just Give It A Minute” takes me back to more of Shilts’ Headboppin’ era. It’s a familiar groove and melody, with that tinge of fun! The definition of copasetic is completely satisfactory. I think the song “Copasetic” goes beyond that. It’s a fast-paced, horn-infused song that gets you moving. The melody is infectious. “Got Love” features vocalist Siedah Garrett, and was written by her and Shilts. It’s a funky song with great lyrics, horns, and just an overall electric vibe. It’s definitely one of the highlights on this album. Everyone can relate to “Life’s Ups & Downs.” It’s a little bit of R&B and funk wrapped in a neat package. The horn section gives way to a matter-of-fact sax solo that showcases the talent of Shilts. The boy can blow! Bill Steinway on keys always adds personality to the tracks and has a fairly long solo with just the drum beat behind him, until a Ross Bolton guitar lick kicks it all back into gear.
“Dear Juliet,” a song for Shilts’ wife, is a tender tribute to the woman behind the man. It’s a sensitive tune that makes you feel the love in his heart. To me, this is when Shilts shines, when he steps back a bit from the funk and hard hitting beats and just plays. It’s just beautiful. Closing the CD out is “We Don’t Make The Rules.” It’s a fun, catchy tune that’s just sax, keys, and a steady backbeat. It’s another one of those songs that will get stuck in your head.
This CD let me see a different side of Shilts. The funkiness and groove are still there, but he is not overpowered by the heavy, repetitive beats of the Down to the Bone days. It shows the raw talent and ease of playing that he has, along with more sophisticated song writing. It’s so nice to see our little boy Shilts, All Grown Up!