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  • Jonathan Widran

DR. DAVE, Midnight Daydream

Back in 2000, in a clever extension of his professional moniker, Dr. Dave called one of his early solo albums The House Call Band. Nearly two decades and numerous Smooth Jazz radio hits later, the multi-talented Southern California based guitarist, composer and producer has taken that catchy concept to the next level, full fruition, rebranding as Dr. Dave & The Housecall Band for his ensemble’s dynamic new album Midnight Daydream.

The collection’s first single, the sensual, old school R&B-vibin’ “Sexy Cindy,” was named for Cindy Sanchez Medina, Miss Santander, Colombia 2018. She appears in the video for the song that is included as a bonus on the CD. While other images abound, the clip is mostly an exciting insider’s look at the recording of the track, mostly created live in the studio by Dr. Dave’s band. While the infectious melodies Dr. Dave creates on his 1963 Gibson Johnny Smith and Gibson Blue Hawk drive the music, the decision to present Midnight Daydream as a full band recording was a logical one considering the explosive ensemble energy of his longtime unit.

Dr. Dave works with most of the same San Diego based musicians who appeared on his last album, Carefree, in 2014, including bassist Cecil McBee, Jr., keyboardist Rob Whitlock, drummer Duncan Moore and saxophonist John Rekevics. Also making exciting contributions to The Housecall Band are percussionist Tommy Aros (of Fattburger), trumpeter Derek Cannon, organist Larry Logan and vocalists Stellita Porter, Jackie Bonaparte and Ignacio “Nacho” Sobers.

In addition to a batch of sparkling new originals, Dr. Dave cultivates a fresh creative vibe that allows for more improvisation than ever. He also taps into his lifelong passion for straight ahead jazz on colorful re-imaginings of John Coltrane’s “Impressions” and the Paul Desmond composed Dave Brubeck classic “Take 5.” Another familiar highlight is a fiery arrangement of “Hey Hey Hey Hey,” based on the theme song riff of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Longtime fans of contemporary jazz may remember Dr. Dave from his initial success as a recording artist in the mid-90s, when his albums I Like It Like That, Smooth and Cruisin’ made big splashes in the early days of the Smooth Jazz format. Smooth featured performances from jazz greats Freddie Hubbard, Ernie Watts and the late Fattburger members Carl Evans, Jr. and Hollis Gentry. Cruisin’ had sax and flute legends, brothers Ronnie and Hubert Laws. Amazingly, Dr. Dave became a popular artist while at the same time continuing his successful practice as a licensed psychotherapist.

After that initial run, Dr. Dave switched gears and moved for a time to Brazil, where he performed for several years. He got back in the recording groove, and geared up by releasing two compilations of earlier material – some of which had never been played on radio. In 2013, he released Love Potion, a collection of romantic songs, which he followed with the perfectly titled The Doctor Is In, full of Dr. Dave’s early up-tempo tracks. The smooth jazz format’s embrace of these recordings inspired Dr. Dave to return to the scene full force with Carefree and reach even greater musical heights on Midnight Daydream.

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