After two years of hard work and dedication, The Great Barrier Reefs releases its first full-length instrumental album Finding Time. The nine laid-back island-jazz-funk originals included in this nearly hour-long recording come just in time to thaw your frozen wintry soul and put you in a summer mood.
The Nashville-based band is led by front man Tony Hartman on steel pan, percussion and keyboards. The five-piece ensemble also features sultry saxophone by Josh Dunlap, guitar by BJ Golden, Taylor Lonardo on bass and Rick Wilkerson rhythmically keeping it all together on drums. Each band member’s individual contribution is an integral ingredient, but the tautness of the group playing together in precise unity is responsible for the musical magic heard in exquisite abundance throughout Finding Time.
This self-released effort is a solid album of funky jazz compositions incorporating Latin, island and world music elements. It was co-produced by band members Hartman, Lonardo and Golden ensuring the group’s unique sound and style was fully captured in explicit musical detail and without compromise.
The upbeat title track starts things off in the right direction and the buoyant mood continues with “To the Bridge Burners,” featuring particularly impressive guitar work. Things slow down a bit on the reeling “Gratitude,” which includes a nice percussive breakdown and a brilliant saxophone solo. The pace quickly picks up again on the funky, reggae-tinged “Pasando Por Las Calles,” the album’s must-hear essential highlight, although you will be hard pressed to find a dud in this bunch.
Finding Time is an excellent and well executed melodic getaway of skilled musicianship guaranteed to make you forget your troubles and drift away to a tropical paradise in your mind. This is an absolute must-have and welcome addition to any diverse music lover’s collection. So grab your flip-flops, fix yourself a pitcher of margaritas and take a mental vacation with the cool, steel drum sounds of The Great Barrier Reefs.
Key tracks include “Pasando Por Las Calles,” “To the Bridge Burners,” “Finding Time” and “Matt’s Birthday.”
For more info on the band, visit TheGreatBarrierReefs.com or check them out live at Bluesboro on May 18.