Here she is once again dancing the funk right off everyone’s dancing shoes: Saxtress Paula Atherton. The lady has a new label (Maurice White’s Kalimba Music), Paula Atherton some slammin’ contributions from one of the coolest guitarist around, Nick Colionne, lovely trumpeter Cindy Bradley, and the wonderfully talented, equally lovely keyboardist Gail Johnson. Couple that with that same seductive, crystal clear vocal style that has brought her this far and an album of all new, all original material – Ear Candy — and I think we can look for a chart topper here.
Kicking it off with the funky “Pocket Full of Funk,” this party wastes no time getting into full swing. Others follow like “Bee to A Flower” (truly one to get those feet excited and certainly one of my faves) and “Breakdown.” Of course, this wouldn’t be a Paula Atherton CD without some of that saucy, seductive, R&Bish slow jam groove found here on tracks like “Without You” and “Someone’s Gonna Break My Heart” (the latter has a little pop flavor to it, as well). She also tosses in a little touch of Brazil and some great flute work on the rhythmic, up-tempo “Carnivale.”
This release marks her fourth, and each just seems to take the listener a little bit farther into the fascinating sound-rich world of this now so well-defined saxtress. That her fortunes are blossoming so well (new label, notable luminaries signing on to contribute) only further proves her to be more than ready to share the upper rungs of that wonderful C-jazz ladder. It is also evident that her style and material are irresistibly charming. Ear Candy …mmm, mmm good. – Ronald Jackson