The first of two of Portland’s emerging talents, Chance Hayden, kicked off the dual CD release concert, along with Nicole Berke, at the renowned and sold out jazz joint Jimmy Mak’s. After spending over a year conceiving, writing, producing and funding his debut album, The Family Tree, with the help of generous Kickstarter endorsements Hayden was finally ready to celebrate the performance of his debut.
With an 8-piece band filling the stage Hayden kicked off the night with the smooth funky shuffle of New Start. Backed by Hayden’s slinky wah-wah guitar and punchy horn section, singer Ian James set the tone for an evening of soulful vocals. Next was the title track, Family Tree, Hayden penned as an homage to his family, his Southern roots, a Northwest upbringing and his new adventure into fatherhood. Under Hayden’s orchestration the band jumped into the up tempo swing of Here and Now, accompanied by his tight horn section.
Hayden continued the set with another R&B groove, Life Time Of Gold, seasoned with the sound of 60s soul, which is the musical ingredient blended throughout his debut. The band segued into a sweet ballad showcasing Hayden's subtle but emotional slide guitar before the song transitioned into a cool jazz keyboard solo.
The next to last song of the set was Father’s Day, in ode to his father, who was in attendance, and coinciding with his own new experience into fatherhood. The finale was a horn-driven pumped up soul cover of Curtis Mayfield’s, If Only I Were A Child Again.
Catching up with the soft spoken Hayden briefly after the night’s performance he shared he couldn’t have been more grateful and fortunate about how the album came together. The passionate and disciplined young musician took command of all aspects of the project, from writing to performing, to recording and mastering the album. He admitted there was plenty of pressure to complete the project on time but said everything just seemed to fall into place. Hayden especially enjoyed the mastering of the record, knowing he was fortunate and blessed to have had the guiding oversight of multi-talented musician, writer, and producer Josh Lava co-produce the album.
After the evening’s performance, and celebrated release of his fine debut, be sure to keep an eye & ear on this talented young musician. He is a creative force who will continue to dazzle and groove with future projects and releases.