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CD REVIEW: Eric Van Aro - Friends
By Francesco Emmanuel - 04/26/2006 - 09:12 PM EDT

Artist: Eric Van Aro
Album: Friends
CD Review: So, once again, never judge a book, or in this case a Cd by it's cover. The artwork on Eric Van Aro's latest release , 'Friends' is a drawing of a man, so I honestly thought it was classical music (don't ask me why!).

It turned out to be a pre/post-modern jazz album, with a latin influence, a funk song or two, some old jazz standard favourites, oh and a pop song here and there and wait a minute, a blues number as well.

So just what category should we put this guy in? How about just great adult contemporary music.

Eric is a certified jazz crooner, his mid-range voice is smoothe, soft and heavy. He does great renditions of Stevie Wonder's 'He's Misstra Know-it-all'. He sings the entire horns section (and I mean the entire section!) of 'Pick up the pieces', that 70s funk classic written by R. Ball, H. Stuart and crew.

Track # 8, is 'Friends' by the Gods of Rock 'n Roll Led Zepplin, however, it's completely funked up. You can always tell an accomplished musician, when they can take a song and do it 'justice' by making that piece of music sound like their very own creation.

Van Aro also does songs by Gino Vannelli and Paula Cole. His own song 'The Painting in my heart' appears on this album as well, the groove is solid, jazzed up and funky. The lyrics are printed inside the CD jacket.

Van Aro also has a vast array of talented musicians who appear on this album (check out the sweet, blistering solo on 'Be Somebody'). It is clear to see that Eric is a seasoned musician, who knows how to make a song come alive, can interpret any artists' material in his own fashion, and sing it!

The album ends with a soft piano number, why is it that nothing gets the romance going as a jazz piano song? oh well, Eric's 'Friends' will be taking up a permanent spot in my CD player, so thanks Eric, you're a friend of mine.

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