Who: Tomi Malm
What: music steeped in West Coast AOR
Sounds Like: elements of David Foster, Chicago and Earth Wind & Fire
Though 2017 accurately represents the year of Tomi Malm’s solo debut, this Finnish composer, orchestrator and producer has been involved in European based multimedia and television thematic scores for over 25 plus years. While we received a more comprehensive sneak peak at his capabilities back in 2009 on the excellent David Foster tribute album Fly Away it is not until now that Malm has managed to break the doors wide open with his debut solo album Walkin’ On Air courtesy of the small Spanish based label Contante & Sonante.
Much like the previously mentioned tribute album, Malm brings his solid production and arrangements with a cast of talented performers but instead of highlighting the songs of the great David Foster it is his own compositions that are in the spotlight this time around. Needless to say his solo debut is simply a stylistic startling stellar showcase of his endless abilities. Adding assistance from musicians such as Simon Phillips, John JR Robinson, Neil Stubenhaus, Robbie Buchannan, Eric Marienthal and Brandon Fields only furthers the cause. Add in the talents of vocalists Frank Adahl (featured on Fly Away), former Chicago vocalist Jason Scheff, Clif Magness, the underrated Jeff Pescetto (who was featured on David Foster’s solo album River Of Love) and even the late Warren Wiebe just to name a few only adds credence to magnitude of this solo debut.
Needless to say the influences of Foster, Chicago and Earth Wind & Fire are some of the molecules found in Malm’s musical DNA but he brings his own unique West Coast silky-smooth sounds with underlying jazz, R&B and progressive tendencies. From the progressive tinged “Favor” and heavily Earth Wind & Fire influenced “Let’s Get To It” contrasting with the mellow madness found on the Warren Wiebe’s elegant vocals on “Show Me A Sign” or the sublime “Wouldn’t It Be Kinder” co- written by Cecily Gardner only makes the album eclectic and compelling.
Tomi Malm’s Fly Away tribute album was magnificent using multiple voices and some special musical friends based on his arrangements of the “Hitmaker’s” compositions. With his debut solo album we have the same ingredients with stellar results but this time we are treated to Malm’s extraordinary compositions. The results are a listening experience that certainly transcends into a heavenly musical ascension that will have you Walkin On Air and looking for more to come from this new solo artist.
New Artists coming at you all the time.