Jazz. Rock. Folk. Funk. Perhaps it's because he was born and grew up in multicultural Sabah in Borneo, or maybe it's because he has lived in Japan, Sweden, the US, and England that the music of singer and guitarist René Barrow can be described as 'eclectic Jazz'. Sometimes he will fuse Rock songs with Jazz chords and Funk rhythms, and on occasion, he may even venture out into Folk-Rock territory. But at the end of the journey he always returns home, to the mellow moods of Jazz.
At first, this album was supposed to be a simple demonstration of a few Jazz standards...but thanks to the encouragement of Claire Martin, it kind of morphed into a whole album of twelve songs, with three of my own compositions as well! Once I had recorded all twelve, a theme seemed to emerge...that of life being sometimes harsh, but full of hope and beauty as well, which is why I chose That's Life to be the title track of the whole album. Based on this theme, I arranged the songs so that the lyrics of the first would lead thematically into the second and so on, like the chapters of a book that all combine to create a coherent story.
With this theme clearly in my mind, I then tried to think of an appropriate front cover image that would reflect it. After playing around with a few different concepts, John Aparicio came up with the idea of a flower emerging from something. As soon as he mentioned it, I could picture a flower growing from rubbish. John then created the scene by rummaging through his bin, and used leftover food, teabags, and bits of plastic to compose the perfect image. The purple baby hyacinth emerges from the mess of life, but it has yet to bloom. It represents a future hope, while the eggshells represent both new life and the brokenness from which beauty springs. On a physical level, this reflects the reality of what I have seen in slums around the world, from Manila to Rio de Janeiro.