The Future is Calling – Todd Omohundro (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Damascene moments are, by their very nature unexpected and life-changing. Todd Omohundro’s happened whilst watching Chicago perform in Hershey Pennsylvania and after witnessing Terry Kath in all his sonic glory, he knew what he was going to do with his life. Since then he has sung with numerous bands and artists, from Pink, Broadway Stars, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Philly Pops and, of course, his heroes Chicago, and taught thousands of musically-inclined kids how to follow their sonic dreams too.

And it is such an eclectic musical background that colours his own music too and this latest long-player from him is a heady blend of jazz, rock, pop, classical and world music sounds.

The title track, which opens the album, is a wonderful blend of African township vocal harmonies, west coast jazz vibes and big band power, the perfect way to begin to layout the wide sonic stall that his music is built on. Taste of Honey fuses the grunt and groove of rock music with boisterous and beautiful brass attacks and at the other musical extreme Far Away is a gorgeously understated soul-pop ballad.

Clear Blue Skies is the sort of up-tempo pop groover that Christopher Cross used to revel in, here given the brass makeover that is this album’s signature touch and the album ends with Just Fly, a chart contender if ever there was one.

The term jazz gets bad press in some quarters but it is albums such as The Future is Calling which will certainly help to bring in new converts. Jazz it is but by the time it has been threaded through with everything from funk to soul, from pop to rock, and even playing with Africa vocal sounds and other world music vibes, the only genre it really fits in is the one labelled “cool music.”

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