Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Jason Mraz presents his latest offering and his second studio album Mr. A-Z. Produced by the legendary Steve Lillywhite (U2, Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, et al) at Allaire Studios near Woodstock, NY, Mr. A-Z is Mraz's most inspired and thoughtful record to date. Elektra. 2005.
Uncut (p.74) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Mixing bohemian self-deprecation, candy-coloured hip hop and wistful power-pop....[he] seems tailor-made for sensitive types with a wry world view like his."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.98) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "A blue-eyes soul merchant with the lush sweep of a Rufus Wainwright....The music does all the necessary talking."
Personnel: Jason Mraz (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Jason Mraz; Lyle Workman (guitar, electric guitar, dobro); Bill Bell (guitar, background vocals); Bill Bell (guitar); Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. (keyboards); Ian Sheridan (bass instrument, background vocals); Questlove, Nir Z., Adam King (drums); Josh Deutsch (castanets); Dirtysick, Steve Sidelnyk (programming); DJ Bob Necksnapp (scratches); Lee Davis High School Choir (background vocals); Rachael Yamagata (vocals, background vocals); Raul Midón (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, background vocals); Kevin Kadish (acoustic guitar); Nicole Bayer (cello); Eric Hinojosa (keyboards, programming, background vocals); Raul Rekow (congas, percussion); Karl Perazzo (timbales, percussion); Bashiri Johnson (percussion); Noel "Toca" Rivera (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Steve Lillywhite; David Thoener; DJ Bob Necksnapp; Jim Scott .
Recording information: Allaire Studios, Shokan, NY; Chez Mraz; Pulse Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
Photographers: Armando Salas; Ben Watts.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Lee Davis High School Choir; Danielle Decker; Roxanne Oldham.
On Jason Mraz's second studio album, the young Virginia-born singer/songwriter continues the loose, freewheeling pop/rock vibe established on his 2002 debut, WAITING FOR MY ROCKET TO COME. He's still the slightly mischievous boy-next-door, but here Mraz has a new sense of self-confidence, undoubtedly based on the success of his first album. Though it's usually left to hip-hop artists to boast about their lyrical prowess, Mraz does exactly that on the rap-inspired "Wordplay," an alternately soaring and frenetic track that focuses on his tongue-in-cheek turns of phrase. Later in the record, Mraz offers up a mellow, Santana-like tune, "Bella Luna" (which shines the spotlight on his high, clear vocal delivery), and the surprisingly caustic piano ballad "Please Don't Tell Her." Overall, however, Mraz sounds most comfortable in the John Mayer light-rock vein, as evinced by the buoyant opening number, "Life Is Wonderful," and the anthemic "Did You Get My Message?"
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