Many Different Colors
First and Last
On paper, Many Different Colors has the ingredients of a masterpiece. A project of producer Michael Carr, the album has been in production for 13 years, collecting incredible session musicians to participate along the way. Included on the album is David Letterman’s Paul Shaffer, bassist Chuck Rainey (known for his work with Steely Dan and the Jackson Five), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (from the Doobie Brothers, Carly Simon, the Blues Brothers), and 25 other equally accomplished players.
Undoubtedly, there’s a cesspool of talent in here. However, in taking 13 years to produce 16 songs, whatever soul or energy once conceived within these songs has been drowned in over-production. Not to mention, the album strives to be so eclectic — attempting everything from rock to contemporary jazz to rap — that everything but the jazz sounds fundamentally wrong coming from a group of session musicians. Their rock songs have no energy or heart, their hip hop lacks definition, and their rap tune, which starts off with the words “White boy, I’m in the ghetto,” is flat-out embarrassing.
Granted, the musicianship on Many Different Colors is well-executed, and the album is a feat of smooth production. Yet, for the majority of an album that desperately tries to reach its arms around every genre of music short of punk rock, pinpoint accuracy in production only worsens the quality. The album certainly has well-produced music, but where it shines in instrumental skill, it completely lacks in heart.
Blue Prints Records, 154 65th St., New York, NY 10021