Just when you thought he was done after a seven-year hiatus, out comes Michael Franks with his 18th album release to catch us all by surprise and what a super album it is too, with much thought and planning going into it as is to be expected from him.
Franks has that same velvet smooth voice that graced us when he brought out “Sleeping Gypsy” and through the years he has maintained that panache. That gentle inner fire that he has always possessed, this album oozes class.
In true fashion the array of musicians is superlative. With a line up featuring the late Chuck Loeb, David Spinozza, Rachel Z, Bob Mintzer, Gil Goldstein, Gary Meek and Jimmy Haslip among others, there is no doubt that there is superb musicianship on offer on “The Music in my Head.”
Compositionally, Franks has a formula that just works. Quiet, stylish, sophisticated. The kind of music that very gently draws you in without you realizing it. Never in your face and never obtrusive. In the tradition of albums such as “Passion Fruit” and “Barefoot on the Beach” this is Michael Franks at his best…. familiar, comforting and relaxing.
Consisting of ten tracks, the album opens with "As Long As We're Both Together" and meanders like a lazy summer's day river to the final "Waterfall."
With classy solos throughout from smooth guitars to tasty horn lines and piano work supported by in the pocket drums, basslines and catchy phrases this album is as good as it gets in the particular genre.
The production once again cannot be faulted and all kudos to Franks' use of different producers including, Jimmy Haslip, Scott Petito and Gil Goldstein. And even though he has a spectacular array of musicians and producers, there is no doubt that Franks is the final decision maker knowing exactly what he wants and staying with a winning formula that has served him well through the years. His music has a way of reaching out to the listener in an almost personal way, with uncluttered arrangements and clean playing. Not a technique 'chopfest' but rather a refined work of art to be sipped and savored.
I especially enjoyed David Spinozza's guitar work on "Suddenly Sci-fi," a slightly more up-tempo bossa reminiscent of some of the work off his "Dragonfly Summer" album. Rachel Z features beautifully on “To Spend The Day With You.” Both Gary Meek and Bob Mintzer feature prominently on the album, with some masterful horn work.
The bittersweet part on the album is the first song “As Long As We're Both Together” featuring the late great Chuck Loeb who succumbed to cancer shortly thereafter.
Like a spoonful of fresh caramel you find yourself coming back for more as this is an album that cannot be faulted in any way.
Put your feet up, pour yourself a glass of red wine, put this on and enjoy.