Paula Atherton, Dancin’ Shoes Review

Rhythms in Motion: The Dynamic Journey of Dancin' Shoes


Paula Atherton, Dancin’ Shoes Review

Rhythms in Motion: The Dynamic Journey of Dancin’ Shoes

By Ferell Aubre

Paula-Atherton-The-Jazz-Word-CDPaula Atherton’s Dancin’ Shoes is a deep dive into the possibilities of infusing elements of R&B, soul, and Latin grooves to create a jazz experience that transcends musical boundaries. With her seventh full-length release, Atherton showcases her saxophone, flute, and heartfelt vocal abilities, offering an album that resonates with both jazz purists and casual listeners alike.

The album starts with “Baila,” a track brimming with a light, joyous Latin flavor that is seamlessly melded with a smooth jazz groove. Atherton’s flute commands the forefront, weaving through the ensemble with warmth and agility, promising a dance-inducing start to the album’s journey. This piece sets a high bar for the album, with Atherton’s solo work displaying an engaging blend of motivic development and sheer enjoyment, perfectly embodying the spirit of dance.

“Inside Out & Backwards” takes a funkier turn, setting its tone with a toe-tapping groove that underpins Atherton’s dynamic alto saxophone. The rhythm section and the punchy horn hits, combined with Lou Gimenez’s fusion-inspired guitar solo, create a compelling narrative of musical exploration.

The album’s first single, “Keep it Comin’,” stands out for Atherton’s ability to craft top-charting hits while maintaining a high musical integrity. The track’s smooth jazz foundation supports Atherton’s expressive alto saxophone solos, marked by saxophone screams and chromatic approaches that captivate the listener’s attention.

“Give Me A Reason” slows the pace with a heartfelt ballad that showcases Atherton’s excellent vocal sound and saxophone skills. The slow shuffle and R&B influences make it a standout piece, demonstrating Atherton’s versatility and ability to shape a melody vocally and on the saxophone.

The title track, “Dancin’ Shoes,” embodies the album’s essence—a fusion of upbeat rhythms and melodies that compel movement. The synergy between Atherton’s saxophone and the funk-driven guitar and keyboard work creates an unstoppable energy and joy.

Her cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “Move on Up” adds a fresh layer to the album, blending soulful vocals with a funky bass line that pays homage to the original while showcasing Atherton’s unique interpretative skills.

As the album nears its close with tracks like “Time Out” and “Don’t Look Back,” Atherton’s collaboration with esteemed producers and musicians such as Curtis Harmon and Lou Gimenez adds depth and complexity to the project, ensuring that each song contributes to the album’s cohesive sound and feel.

Ending on a high note, “Open Road” encapsulates the album’s theme of adventure and exploration. The track’s driving groove and Atherton’s agile saxophone work make it a fitting conclusion to an album that takes listeners on a musical journey.

Mastered by Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound, Dancin’ Shoes offers a runtime of just over 49 minutes of compelling music that speaks to the heart and the feet. Released under Dream On Records, this vibrates with Paula Atherton’s unwavering commitment to conveying the groove side of jazz. With each track, Atherton invites us into her world—a world where every note and rhythm tells a story, encouraging us to dance, reflect, and, above all, enjoy the rich tapestry of sounds she has woven together.


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