Dawn to Dusk is Jim Wellman’s latest release, a jazz, funk, and disco album that sets out to be a social commentary of sorts. But as Wellman explains, this commentary is viewed through the perspective “of human psychological evolution, and analysis of mass communication and propaganda. The core of the work is the understanding that man lives in a world of amazing technological development, but is still encumbered with medieval forms of government by representatives who serve mainly the interests of the elite.”
Lively and energetic, the opening track sets the bar quite high. The groovy “Lucy” features an ear-capturing bass line and great vocals courtesy of guest singer Judy La Rose. The smooth track is silky and smooth at all levels, be it the talented instrumentation, the tight and well-written melody, or the well thought-out vocals. While the following “Lewontin Campbell” is just as smooth, it slows things down significantly and brings in horns, setting it apart from its predecessor while at the same time overlapping it thanks to the same feeling of grooviness and silkiness. The warm male vocals are as languid and relaxed as the melody that accompanies them.
The dissonant first few seconds of “Probably Good” quickly fall into place to form yet another song featuring what is becoming an overall quite groovy, smooth, and silky album. The catchy number is not quite as dance-worthy as the opener but is definitely meant to energize while soothing. The dual male and female vocals dance with and around each other, flirty and delightful. The almost spoken word nature of the male vocals in “Premature Truth” makes for an interesting, Pet Shop Boys-like vibe set in a jazzy smooth lining. A unique twist in this tune is a newscaster-like, British male voice-over that cheapens in my mind efforts made up to now to write thought-provoking lyrics.
The voice-over style continues in “Feedback Loop” during which a groovy beat takes a backseat at the one-third mark to a phone call discussing “one-way mass communication”. “Night of the Meme” features a slow beat that seems on the verge of throbbing without ever making the commitment. There is a sensual, simili-Latin flair that blends well with the jazz overtones and the sultry vocals.
The bass guitar in “Red or Blue” is funky, while “Happy Song” starts slow and ends up much faster with a warning that happy songs are not always a portent of happy news, a theme that makes for a great segue into the following “Cynical Century”.
Engaging from its very first note, Dawn to Dusk will delight more than only fans of modern jazz with blues and funk inflections. Tracks are available for streaming on Bandcamp. More information can be found on Wellman’s Facebook page.
Pictures provided by Independent Music Promotions.