J. Paul Slavens is about as well-known and well-respected a commodity as there is in the DFW music scene.
He's been kicking around the Metroplex for nearly 25 years, playing with bands like the much-heralded Ten Hands or the more experimental Chameleon Chamber Group. But he might have become even more well-known for his radio program. Every Sunday night, listeners eagerly tune in to his program on KXT-91.7 FM to hear his eclectic, anything-goes mixes, where you're just as likely to hear a song by Van Cliburn as you are Röyksopp or Dr. Dog.
Then there's his bi-weekly "Track by Track" podcast, which delves into the albums of local musicians.
More recently, the creativity, humor, and spontaneity of Slavens's virtuosic brain have been on display with his weekly residencies--at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton and at the newly renovated Kessler Theatre in Oak Cliff--where the maestro composes songs on the spot, based on song titles provided by the audience. More often than not, it produces hilarious results.
Last week, Slavens announced his return to premeditated original material with his latest solo piano album Alphabet Girls, Volume 1, his first of the sort in a dozen years. As its title suggests, Paul has composed songs for girls whose names begin with every letter of the alphabet (through the letter N on this first collection).
While the songs on Alphabet Girls range in genre from jazz-pop, to ragtime, alt-pop, to straight-up jazz quartet stuff, it doesn't necessarily mean that Slavens has completely left the music-comedy style he's become known for in his weekly residencies by the wayside.
Take, for instance, the album's opener "Abigail," where Slavens gives a piano-infused cliffnotes version of the disc's premise: "There have been 100 girls, 100 sets of lips/ And on my radar of romance the screen is full of blips," before trying to carefully woo a woman named Abigail into going on a date by promising that he'll "be her slave night and day" and assuring her that he will not even attempt a kiss. Ultimately he finds out that what Abigail is most interested in is finding a quiet place to "suck face in the dark".
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Give it a listen, and a free download, after the jump.