Steven Blane will release his sixth album on August 24. It’s called So New York, a collection of 10 original love songs set in Manhattan. Written and produced by Blane, and recorded in NYC, it features the talents of Blane (vocals, guitar), Frank “Sticks” Levatino (drums), Kevin Hailey (bass), and Jack Glottman (piano).
Blane’s sound encompasses jazz, pop, and rootsy Americana, but he’s not afraid to inject other flavors into his music. Two of his previous full-lengths, The Shed Sessions and Motel Blue, delved deeply into his Americana bag, while his first album, 2014’s Kill Me Nice, rode the jazz/pop wave.
Even though all 10 tracks are worth the price of admission, subjectivity always enters the picture, meaning different songs stand out to different people. For me, the highlights on So New York include the opening track, “Bums Rush,” a smooth jazz/pop tune with a sparkling piano full of sweltering femme fatale cheekiness providing the harmonic backbone. Blane’s voice, silky with effortless timbres, oozes charming sophistication and urbanity.
“Smoke and Mirrors” is cool jazz flavored with R&B savors. Dark and melancholic colors infuse the music with sad bluesy intensity. Blane’s velvety tenor is custom-made for this kind of music, evocative and polished, debonair and nuanced with cultured textures. He even adds touches of scrumptious scatting.
“On Bleeker Street” emanates cool sensuality, undulating on a seductive rhythm as Blane croons dulcetly. There’s an opulent suggestiveness to this song, akin to Sade’s sophisti-jazz.
“New York Is My Girlfriend” is another sophisti-jazz-flavored tune with hints of Latin spice. The rhythm radiates sleek and erotic colors full of come-hither gestures.
Other tracks you don’t want to miss include the title track and “Gaslight.” Both are excellent.
So New York is grand! The album is full of vintage jazz/pop aromas giving off tantalizing wisps of elusive familiarity similar to the heady music of the ‘40s and ‘50s. Steven Blane’s voice is deliciously deluxe, full of lush tones. If you’re into refined jazz/pop, then So New York is right up your alley.