After recording countless bands and musicians over 30 years in his Studio D in Sausalito, Joel Jaffe has finally released a solo album of his own. It's a belated but auspicious debut.
Jaffe wrote or co-wrote all 13 songs on "Dark Room," plumbing his vast experience in classic rock, funk, blues and modern pop. A fine singer, he handled lead vocals and assembled a stellar cast of musicians around him in the studio.
It's sweet to hear the late Norton Buffalo again, lending his wailing harmonica to the title track. Former Sly and the Family Stone drummer Greg Errico and keyboard ace Austin de Lone are featured on several tunes, including "Walking the Line," a driving rocker with background vocals by the Vallejo Baptist Choir.
Jaffe is practically a one-man band on the Beatles-esque, Indian-influenced "Precious Love," singing lead and background vocals, programming the drums and playing bass and guitars.
Pete Contino's accordion brings Crescent City color to "Cajun Nights," and saxophonist George Brooks takes flight on the instrumental "Urban Phishing."
At Studio D, Jaffe has earned a stellar reputation as an engineer and producer over three decades. With this album, he may at long last come out of the control room and get some much-deserved recognition as a recording artist in his own right.
— Paul Liberatore