Guitarist Patrick Yandall has been making music for quite some time, but has remained under the radar. That is until now. His sixth CD, The Eyes of Mars, released on Apria Records, will give Patrick a kick into the spotlight. The CD contains 12 tracks, of which nine are original compositions. Whether you are listening to the Latin-flavored tunes or the R&B, the music flows really well throughout.
The CD starts out with the title track, “The Eyes of Mars.” The melody is easy and refreshing. Patrick's guitar work is clear and crisp. This is a very radio-friendly song that will have audiences moving. “Saturday Love” is a cover of the hit by R&B star Cherelle, but Patrick makes it his own with some terrific piano provided by Kevin Flournoy. The combination of the guitar and piano really works well with this upbeat groove. The flugelhorn of Steve Ebner starts off “Just Be Thankful,” another melodic, but introspective kind of tune. The underlying groove of Patrick's guitar is still there, but plays sideman to the horn.
“Funk Sway” is a kickin' track with more piano work by Kevin Flournoy and Nathan Brown on a killer bass. It's just a fun song that will stay in your head for the rest of the day. “Sheri” is a romantic ballad that is peaceful, but still with the underlying current that Patrick weaves throughout this project. It really lets you hear how gentle he can be on those strings. If Latin music is what you like, then “Tequila Time” will fill the need, followed by “Brazilian Affairs.” Both focus on Patrick's playing, but add the piano in the mix to spice things up. Two terrific songs.
“King B.B.” is a blues-infected tune and tribute to the legendary B.B. King. Patrick does an amazing job of recreating the feeling of that legend. The track shows the versatility of this guitarist. Another sign of Patrick's abilities can be found on his cover of the John Coltrane classic, “Naima.” With Steve Ebner again on flugelhorn, Patrick does a beautiful rendition. With Greg Vail on sax, “Let Me Love You,” has a terrific, catchy melody. It can definitely get the toes tapping. The final original track on the CD is “Little Mac.” This song exudes a very dream-like feeling. It's light and airy and provides that drifting away mood. The CD ends with a cover of “Europa,” originally a hit by Carlos Santana and Tom Coster. This piece really showcases the talents of Patrick Yandall. The gentle guitar melody matched against the B3 organ gives it a wonderful flavor.
Throughout this CD you learn that Patrick Yandall will no longer remain in the background behind other smooth jazz guitarists. His wonderful compositions and versatility in playing all types of music will definitely propel him. The Eyes of Mars is a highly recommended CD to add to your collection.
- Bonnie Schendell