Mark Jaimes – Hear at Last

HearAtLast_Over the past few years, as longtime Simply Red guitarist Mark Jaimes was honing his vibe and writing and recording tracks, Jimi King, promoter of London’s legendary jazz club Pizza Express had a running joke where he’d ask every time they met, “Is the album finished yet?” With his upcoming, highly anticipated and cleverly titled debut collection on Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm Records, Jaimes can finally respond that it’s Hear at Last.“Evenin’,” the collection’s lead single, is a snappy, strutting mid-tempo funk driven tune featuring Jaimes’ lively, lighthearted trademark riffs and an old school soul-jazz keyboard vibe and sparkling piano solo by labelmate and longtime friend Oli Silk. The track is set to drop at radio May 31 and retail/streaming July 23.

The release of Hear at Last launches an exciting new phase of Jaimes’s multi-faceted career that includes over 20 years of work with Mick Hucknall and Simply Red, sessions for Rick Astley and Kylie Minogue and 10 years as the house guitarist at Pizza Express, backing numerous contemporary jazz greats, including Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Peter White, Euge Groove, Chuck Loeb, Mindi Abair and others. Jaimes’ success in the smooth jazz world extended to the studio as well, where he worked on recordings by Silk, Michael J. Thomas and Kirk Whalum.

With Braun’s suggestion that Jaimes’ record his own album finally reaching fruition with Hear at Last, Jaimes invited the trumpeter to appear on the crackling, infectious horn-drenched funk track “Heads Up,” which includes a freewheeling, fiery solo near the end.Another key track – and one perfectly reflective of his classic R&B/pop sensibilities and passion for killer rhythms and melodies – is Rod Temperton’s “Midnight Rendezvous,” a buoyant, playfully grooving track featuring Jaimes’ slick lead guitar, mystical synth magic and a soaring vocal hook by the great Patti Austin. It’s a song that emerged from Jaimes’ collaborations in the mid-2000s with Mica Paris and the late legendary songwriter, who penned era defining smashes for everyone from his band Heatwave to Michael Jackson and George Benson.

The first musician to suggest that Jaimes record his own project was Gota Yashiki in the late 90s, when the Simply Red bassist, drummer, songwriter and producer reached out to Jaimes to join Mick Hucknall’s famed UK soul/pop band in the studio for their album Blue. Jaimes went on to enjoy a dynamic run with the band both on the road and in the studio, starting with serving as their full time guitarist from 1998-2003 – a stretch that included over 160 dates over two world tours and a greatest hits tour and being featured on the albums Love and the Russian Winter (1999) and Home (2003). Though he stopped performing live with Simply Red, Jaimes has played on each of their subsequent albums up through Blue Eyed Soul in 2019.

“Perhaps the reason my solo album was a bit of a slow process for me is that my years as a session musician has involved a lot of different styles and it was hard to A&R myself and hone in on a specific sound,” Jaimes says. “I love funk and writing strong melodies you can sing along to, but getting everything to fit into the accessible radio ready vibe – always the key to establishing a toehold in this genre – took a while.Through all of my experiences, I realize that I am truly a Shalamar and Michael Jackson loving soul boy at heart, always digging the idea of those grooves, melodies and funky rhythms with tasty playing on top. I think overall the album is pretty well balanced and creates a vibe that I’m proud of. I was in the studio for a long time working on it and I can’t wait to get out there with a band and start sharing these songs with everyone.”

Source: Trippin ‘N’ Rhythm Records

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