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  • Jonathan Widran


In my stellar review of fast emerging Australian born saxophonist Evan Carydakis’ on fire, forward thinking 2022 single “Movin’ On,” I concluded with a bold prediction at the end based on his incredible promise as an artist: “Now having laid an incredible foundation in the genre, look for (him) to become a major force in smooth jazz in the coming years!”

While of course I’m honored that he and his marketing team chose to use these words on the promotional one sheet for his equally stellar, infectious new single “Cherry Pops,” more important is the fact that the track is proof of the ongoing manifestation of his this promise – as well as his developing artistry and ability to compose and produce sure fire hit singles with great emotional depth.

While song titles in the genre are often simply full of clever wordplay and pretty imagery and don’t mean anything in particular, “Cherry Pops” stands out as a beautiful and soulful opening to Evan’s heart, and we’re truly blessed he has shared the great joy and pain behind it with us. When it comes to social media outlets like Facebook, the posts that usually generate the greatest number of comments and outpourings are ones that tell of the loss of a loved one – not just a beloved human friend or family member, but a pet. Anyone who has ever welcomed a dog, cat or other animal into their home knows the feeling and is there to support the bereaved.

“Cherry Pops” is the musical equivalent of such a social media post but with a twist. Rather than present a heavy ballad that tugs the heartstrings with melancholy and sorrow – though I’m sure he could write a killer slow tune if so inclined - Evan chooses to celebrate the life of Cherry, his much-adored Australian Kelpie who recently passed away from canine lymphoma, with a playful and freewheeling, funk-infused jam that lives up to his stated intention, “This jam all summer long!”

Featuring the up-tempo piano and fresh, spacey (George Dukesque) synth accents of producer Michael Whitaker, “Cherry Pops,” is a coolly strutting, high energy tune that packs an emotional whallop while capturing Cherry’s great zest for life, rambunctious spirit and courageous ability to bring magic, happiness and whimsy to Evan and his loved ones even in the face of illness and great challenges. We can truly feel the essence of Cherry and her inspirational life in every tight groove, snazzy melodic and soaring horn lick and blast of fiery brass.

“Cherry was simply the love of my life, who looked lymphoma in the eye for thirteen consecutive months,” says Evan. “Cherry never took a backwards step. She always lived her life to the full, remaining joyful at all times, ever faithful, loving and without fear or favour. One hell of a girl and a role model to her human dad!”

That’s a lot of incredible emotion behind a single uplifting smooth jazz track – but so many of us have been where Evan is and it’s wonderful to have a song that we can connect with beyond the way it helps ring in summertime! Thanks to Evan for reminding us the power music has to heal and make us cherish each day we have.

Check out "Cherry Pops" via any of the following links:


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