Iwan VanHetten, Parabbean Tales Review
Iwan VanHetten has spent fifteen years as the musical director and keyboardist with Sister Sledge and twenty years as musical director, keyboardist, trumpeter, songwriter, and producer with the Brooklyn Funk Essentials. His years as a touring, performing, and recording artist have allowed him to perform with some of the industry’s greatest names: Sister Sledge, Candy Dulfer, Paco Sery, The Pointer Sisters, Anthony Hamilton Jools Holland, Jimmy Haslip, Will Kennedy, and Russell Ferrante. VanHetten has toured worldwide, performing at prestigious festivals and clubs. As a leader, VanHetten is active in writing, recording, and producing his albums. VanHetten is now adding to this catalog with Parabbean Tales on Blue Canoe Records.
Parabbean Tales is ten-tracks featuring Grammy Award-winning musicians, including Yellowjackets members Will Kennedy (drums), Russell Ferrante (keyboard), Jimmy Haslip (bass), and Bob Mintzer (saxophone), as well as Lenny Castro (percussion), Melvin Davis (bass), and Andy Narell (steel pan). Parabbean Tales is VanHetten combining Caribbean influences of his childhood music with contemporary jazz and funk to create a rich groove-laden landscape perfect for deep listening as well as moving to the music. The title track brings us into VanHetten’s musical journey and quickly establishes that this album is all about groove and creating a feeling. His trumpet playing is lyrical, and his use of a mute makes the music come alive. Of course, the rhythm section is outstanding and creates a sense of fluidity within the song’s structure that feels wonderful. VanHetten’s trumpet solo is marked by the unshowy, tasteful lines that are easy to follow and have a playful placement in the beat. Showing more of his Caribbean side is “Cachete,” “Not Without You,” “LA Jam,” and “Joel & Knippa.” “5th Avenue” is a funky selection that features more muted trumpet and Ferrante’s keyboard dynamics. “Oasis” is a moment to hear VanHetten’s warm round trumpet sound over a fusion groove that sustains an interesting song form along with Mintzer’s passionate saxophone. For his solo, VanHetten digs into the rhythms and fusion undercurrent to constantly express intriguing tones and harmonic/melodic relationships. Overall, Parabbean Tales offers a fusion project with architecturally astounding music that shimmers in groove, texture, and performance fluidity. The ensemble brings everything to life with their considerable ability to interlock, which will make listeners find this a rewarding recording. That’s the short of it!
Connect with Iwan VanHetten: Website |
Not Without You
Djoel & Knippa
February 4, 2022
Blue Canoe Records