Perfectly capturing the soul-searching music of our times and the universal sense of wonder
human beings have been contemplating since the beginning of time, Steve Oliver follows a dynamic decade and a half of #1 instrumental Billboard Jazz hit making and global touring by asking the simple but resonant question "Why?"
The soulful, thought-provoking track, the lead single from the multi-talented singer, songwriter and guitarist's first ever all-vocal album, Pictures and Frames, is currently shipping to Pop Contemporary stations nationwide. It's Oliver's first official venture into the pop format after nine albums and over 15 years of dominance on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz chart. Oliver has always sprinkled a few pop/R&B vocals into his instrumental albums -- but "Why" and many of the other tracks on the album mark a deeper emergences as an observational, socially conscious songwriter.
Recorded at the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood, the John Mayer, Sting and Steely Dan influenced Pictures and Frames features the exotic soundscaping of Steve Reid (former percussionist of contemporary jazz powerhouse The Rippingtons) and the all star rhythm section of bassist Leland Sklar (whose 2,000 studio sessions include multiple albums with James Taylor, Phil Collins and Linda Ronstadt) and legendary jazz/rock drummer Vinnie Colaiuta,known for his work with Sting, Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton and Herbie Hancock, among hundreds of others.
As he chronicled on his popular 2008 CD/5.1 Surround Sound DVD package One Night Live, Oliver is renowned throughout the contemporary jazz world for his charismatic one on one relationship with the audience and a wild array of sonic delights that include soulful lead vocals, snappy guitar lines, wild vocal percussion excursion, playful "vocalese" and wonderworking with the synth guitar. He's always sprinkled a few full-on pop/R&B vocal tunes on every album.
As a songwriter, Oliver runs the gamut from pointed social observations like "Instant Gratification" (about the lack of human communication due to our collective obsession with cell phones in our demanding, "push button society") to lush romantic expressions like "A Waltz To You," written in 3/4 time, and the lighthearted "Long Time Comin'," which showcases Oliver's trademark a capella virtuosity and energizing vocal percussion.