What do you get when you combine unforgettable hooks and atomic energy? You get a sound that is fresh, unique and totally Shilts. The former frontman for the funk-fortified Down to the Bone and groove jazz specialist, Shilts has signed with nuGroove for the release of his new CD, Jigsaw Life.
"nuGroove was the original home for Down to the Bone. I’m excited to have Shilts back with us. When I heard cuts from this release, I was ecstatic. The songs are unbelievable. There was so much good material on this release that we had a hard time picking the first single," said David Chackler, President and Co-owner.
Paul "Shilts" Weimar originally hails from London, England and has been playing saxophone since his early teens. His career has spanned all forms of jazz, soul, rock and pop music. He has toured all over the world and performed with a host of international artists, such as The Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai, Rick Braun, Jeff Lorber, Peter White and many more. Eventually Shilts became the most visible and identifiable member of the UK jazz group Down To the Bone. In his eleven years with the group, he remained excited creating a separate identity for himself. He did this with his highly anticipated debut, See What Happens, which earned a 2001 Smooth Jazz Award nomination, followed by his second and highly acclaimed follow up, HeadBoppin. His third and latest release, Jigsaw Life, is a powerful showcase of Shilts’ multitude of performing and composing talents, focusing not only on his tenor brilliance but also his instantly infectious melodies.
"I’ve been lucky that I’ve played in so many different styles of music…soul, fusion, pop, big band, smooth jazz. I’ve brought all those different styles in this CD. I’ve tried to make each track sound different. The jigsaw to me is different styles of music," said Shilts.
Jigsaw Life opens with "Piece by Piece." One of the first songs that Shilts chose for the album, it was originally a tune he wrote for Rick Braun and Richard Elliot but never recorded. On second glance, Shilts decided to crank up the tempo and enriched the funk. Additionally, for the first time in 20 years, Shilts decided to play the soprano. Unfortunately, he no longer owned a soprano. Luckily, Yamaha was gracious enough to loan him one and "Piece by Piece" blossomed into a duet between the soprano and tenor.
Destined to be a summer hit, the upbeat dance track and first single to go to radio, "Back on The Hudson" was untitled for a long time. "I was performing in New York with Down to the Bone on the Spirit Cruises and decided I wanted to play it during the set to test out the new tune. Everyone loved it and asked me the name…I didn’t have one." In celebration of the location, Shilts name the song "Back on The Hudson."
In contrast to the rowdy "Back on The Hudson," the sole ballad on Jigsaw Life is "A Promise is a Promise" with a stunning soprano ballad melody. "This one is for the ladies," said Shilts.
Keeping to the spirit of making each song unique on Jigsaw Life, Shilts enlisted the aid of a string quartet for "Broken Silence." Simple and emotionally powerful with a soprano lead, the song slowly builds with a Hammond B-3 and acoustic guitar added to the mix with a dynamic electric guitar solo at the end.
"One of my favorites is track seven, "Outside the Box," said Shilts. "It’s the furthest away from any other tracks on the album. I originally was going to call it "Southern Fried Sax." It has a bluesy, southern soul sort of sound with a trio of tenor saxophones interacting with one another…a dirty, nasty, funky groove, yet very minimalist." With the exception of the guitar, Shilts plays all the instruments for this party track.
This is just a small sampling of the pieces of the music that make up Jigsaw Life.