Paula Atherton
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Paula Atherton

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE | AFM

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Jazz Funk




"Jazz Monthly Review Link"

"Jazz Feature Interview" Paula Atherton
Interview by Joe Caroselli
Jazz Monthly: We here at are truly honored to be chatting with a multi – talented lady who is taking time out of her very busy schedule to spend some time with us today. Paula Atherton is a great singer, alto and soprano saxophonist, flutist, composer, and bandleader, and it all started for Paula in New York City.

She was born and raised in New York and Ms. Atherton began singing and studying the flute at the tender age of nine. Just a few years later, she began playing the alto sax… and so began her musical journey. Paula has performed in Monte Carlo, Portugal, throughout Japan and of course all over the United States. In 2004, Paula played the Blue Note in New York City with jazz pianist Hank Jones, a wonderful jazz pianist who played with Charlie Parker. In 2004 her first CD “Let Me Inside Your Love" debuted on the National Contemporary Jazz Charts. In 2006, a cut from that CD “I Long For Your Love” was released on Warner Europe on a CD called “Ladies Of Jazz.” She was joined on that CD by Natalie Cole, Candy Dulfer, Eliana Elias and other female jazz artists. Paula has performed with Michael Bolton on The Today Show, Rachael Ray, and Good Morning America. We have long waited for her new CD “Groove With Me” to be released, and we are very excited to say that it is out and ready for everyone to enjoy. Welcome Paula!

Paula Atherton (PA): Thank you for having me!

Jazz Monthly It’s our delight! Now I said that it all started for you in New York at the tender age of nine. Now you were a mere child at that age. Was it just the matter of a natural talent, you know, singing around the house… that kind of thing, Paula?

PA: I always loved music. I wanted to have a piano. I think I asked for a piano when I was five. My family didn’t have a lot of money, so we didn’t wind up buying one and there were no musicians in the family; so they just thought I was crazy! (Both laughing)

Jazz Monthly I’m laughing because most young kids at that age are asking for a pony or a bicycle, and here’s Paula Atherton, and she wants a piano!

PA: Yeah, I always loved music. My mother used to play a lot of music in the house. She liked Nat King Cole. There was always something about music that attracted me. I wanted the piano and that didn’t happen, so when I started school I sang in the chorus. When they started band, I had the opportunity to get an instrument… I ended up with the flute. Being in the same family as the saxophone, I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the logical place to go.

Jazz Monthly Absolutely. I see that you are very well influenced by many artists… everyone from “Bird” (Charlie Parker), to “Prez” (Lester Young) to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. Did it all come out of your mom’s love for Nat King Cole and playing a lot of music at home? Was it just a natural extension of that?

PA: I can’t really tell you. It’s just when I started to hear Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, and I heard Charlie Parker and Bill Evans playing the piano, it just struck something in me… it just really spoke to me!

Jazz Monthly Well, the thing that I find in your music, and I absolutely love… love your new CD, but it’s hard to put a label on Paula Atherton. I know that you’re, of course, in the Smooth Jazz or Groove Jazz category. But really, you’re music is Groove, Funk and Urban, Fusion and even some Latin in there. If you had to categorize your own music, Paula, what would you say? Or is it difficult to do that?

PA: I try to just write things that I feel, and not so much to try to fit in a category. I feel that the music on “Groove With Me” is somewhat eclectic. I feel that it kind of all fits together. I don’t feel that it’s disjointed, and I hope people feel the same way when they hear it. And I hope the fact that “eclectic” makes it interesting and not boring for the listener.

Jazz Monthly That’s a very good point! The other thing that I find about your CD is that it pops out on just how generous you are on this production. It’s really more of a “musical team”, a “musical family,” with your fellow musicians who are surrounding you here. I mean you let a lot of them “shine” as far as soloing. It’s real playing… it’s not homogenized in any way. So even the most diehard “jazz purist” in the traditional sense will enjoy it, and yet people from all genres of jazz I think will absolutely love this CD!
Tell us about your “supporting cast.” I guess that’s the best way to describe them.

PA: Well there are quite a few people on this CD, as you know, because you have a copy of it right?

Jazz Monthly Yes, and I absolutely love it!

PA: And you’ve seen all the pictures (laughing) on the back cover there and everybody’s name on it. Wow… it was really wonderful recording the CD. It was such a great experience. It took over four years, and I got quite a wonderful group of people in here. I’ve got: Greg Adams playing on two of the cuts…

Jazz Monthly Yeah, from Tower Of Power.

PA: Yeah… founding member and lead trumpet player from Tower Of Power. So he’s on “JB” and “You’re All I Need To Get By.” Chris Anderson’s also playing trumpet on there. He’s another wonderful trumpet player. He plays with “Southside Johnny.”
The great Stanley Banks, who has been playing with George Benson since the “Breezin” recording. I mean I don’t know if you have time for me to go through everybody. (both laughing) that’s on the CD! I don’t want to leave anybody out! (laughing) There are quite a few players on here.
Jazz Monthly How about Chieli?

PA: Chieli Minucci on guitar from “Special EFX.” He’s a special guest on “Block Party” where he takes a real nice solo! We have Bill Heller who’s the keyboard player from The Rippingtonss on “Light As Air” – which he co-produced. We worked on that at his studio for a bit and finished it up here. Onaje Allan Gumbs on piano. He’s on “Send Down An Angel” and “Funk It Up.” He’s got quite a few releases of his own out. A very well known and wonderful jazz pianist. Schuyler Deale co-produced a bunch of the tracks. He’s also on bass. Lionel Cordew on drums. He’s on a lot of the tracks. He also plays drums for “Special EFX,” Jeff Lorber and Mike Stern. Vinny Conigliaro’s also playing drums. Vinny is a regular member of my band. Lionel also does some gigs with me, but Vinny’s been in the band for years…

Jazz Monthly: Your band is “Interplay”, right Paula?

PA: Yes. Darin Brown also on keyboards, is one of the regular members of my band as is Steve Briody on guitar who also has a few of his own releases out, and Roy DeJesus on bass. Lou Gimenez produced most of the record and also played guitar on the recording.

There are a few percussionists… Emedin Rivera, who also plays with “Special EFX,” Fred Walcott, you’ve got Dave Delhomme on keyboards – who also plays with Eric Clapton and Marcus Miller. John Deley on keyboards, who had been playing with Dido. He’s doing some Broadway now. Wonderful backup singers: Deanna Carroll and LaRita Gaskins. Baron Raymonde playing on “JB” with Greg Adams and me. Baron played Tenor and Bari on that cut… I think… that might be it. (Laughing) Naomion also sang backup with me on “Say It Baby.” She was the only person I was not able to get a picture of. It wasn’t very easy to get everybody’s picture for the CD cover. (Laughing).

Jazz Monthly: Yes, yes… our readers have to check out the back of it, because Paula’s surrounded by these virtuosos.
You know it’s funny, Paula, because in a fun way… we are having a good time here chatting and I’m almost putting you on the spot here. Doesn’t your heart always go out to the person winning the Grammy Award or the Academy Award? He or she is up there and they have to thank everybody, and you don’t want to leave anybody out! Right?

PA: All I can say about that is, you better have it written out on a piece of paper because I’m so sure that it is so shocking that everything goes out of your mind. (both laughing)
I don’t know how they can remember anything. I wouldn’t be lucid… I would just be speechless.

Jazz Monthly: Well, (to our readers) if Paula and I left anybody out, just go out and buy the CD and read it off the credits.

PA: It was wonderful to have all these people. It was just absolutely amazing. I love to have the pictures to look at and remember all the experiences of having these people guest on the record, and of course having my regular members play on it too. This really was a lot of fun!

Jazz Monthly: Now you said it took about four years in the making, and your fans… and I know there are many Paula Atherton fans that were waiting for this CD… but it’s well worth the wait. You know Paula, It takes so much thought… and I could image you tweaking it and deciding: “should we leave this in, should we leave that in.” Every little subtle nuance to the CD takes a lot of thought – and we’re not even talking about the actual performances themselves.

PA: Not everything was written at the same time either. Probably the last few things that were written were “JB” and probably “Funk It Up.” And… how this whole project came together… if I may elaborate on it a little bit…

Jazz Monthly: Sure!

PA: People that had my first CD will notice that this is quite different…

Jazz Monthly: Your first CD was “Let Me Inside Your Love?”

PA: Yes, that’s right. It debuted on the Contemporary Jazz Charts in 04’…

Jazz Monthly: And received great reviews I might add…

PA: The way this particular CD came about… now with the concept in mind that I’m always writing and thinking about things, I had written “Whenever You Come Around” early on. I had an idea about the groove and what I wanted to do with it, and I brought it over to my friend Schuyler’s house – who co-produce a lot of the tracks and plays bass on here… and we were going to do a demo on it. We started to work on the groove and Schuyler said that it reminded him of Sly and the Family Stone. And after we got that track going, it kind of set the stage for the rest of the CD.

Jazz Monthly: Wow! Interesting. So in other words, that kind of laid the foundation and was the “entrée” so to speak to what you were trying to accomplish on this CD “Groove With Me.”

PA: Yeah… until I wrote and recorded “Whenever You Come Around” and listened I didn’t even realize what I was trying to accomplish. I just wrote that and I was like, “Oh… Yeah… this will be kind of cool to go in this Retro, Urban, Old School R&B direction, you know?

Jazz Monthly: Great point. Before we talk about the actual tracks themselves, I can tell that as a young performer, you had a veracious appetite to want to learn. I mean you studied with some incredible people here… your teachers alone! You studied with Bob Mintzer. And I guess our readers will know Bob Mintzer with the legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius and The Yellowjackets. You studied with Alto Saxophonist Lee Konitz, who was a driving force of the “cool jazz” school. He comes out of the Lenny Tristano School. Lee Konitz is still around, right? He’s still playing?

PA: He’s still going! Still amazing!
Paula Atherton interview page 3
Jazz Monthly: In his eighties. And you also studied with the great jazz pianist Sal Mosca, who I believe passed away almost two years ago, right?

PA: Yes, I believe you’re correct about that.

Jazz Monthly: I’m noticing here that I mentioned “jazz pianist” here, and I’m saying that here in bold letters, “Jazz Pianist”, Sal Mosca. Now why the heck is a young kid, who plays flute, who sings beautifully and who is playing saxophone… studying with a jazz pianist?

PA: Well what I was studying with these people in general, with Bob Mintzer, it was more to do with the instrument, but even with Lee, it was more about improvising. That’s basically what I was studying. I knew what to do with the instruments as far as technique went… I could play the instrument, I just wanted to get more knowledge about: harmony and improvising, and that’s what I was studying.

Jazz Monthly: Yes. And it shows with your performance, because I noticed when I was listening to you playing a solo on the sax, you could tell that there was a lot of study, hearing, and listening involved.

PA: I try to always learn. I still practice and listen all the time. I really think that life is an opportunity to learn your entire life. You can grow and learn if you stay open to it… I plan on doing that.

Jazz Monthly: On your new CD “ Groove with me” let’s start with the only cover tune that you choose to do. And you pick a great one! Its “You’re All I Need To Get By.” And it was written by that great husband and wife R&B duo Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson. There’s really a lot of solid “funk” playing by you and the band here. And that song was recorded by so many people, every one from Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, to Aretha to even Tony Orlando & Dawn who recorded it. (Paula laughing) But I tell you, the one thing I found in your version of it, is that it’s very hip. You’re true to the tune… and yet you made it your own. That’s hard to do sometimes when you’re doing a cover, isn’t it?

PA: Yeah it really is. This is a particular song that… when I play live, this is one of the tunes that I usually sing. It’s great to do live because the people in the audience, while they might be seeing me for the first time and maybe don’t know some of my originals, if I do a song like that… well it’s something they can relate to and get in to and gives them a good feeling to be part of. So for the recording “Groove With Me,” we wanted to do something that was a little bit different, because the song has been covered so many times, as you mentioned.

So I was talking to Lou about it and we threw around the idea of a saxophone/trumpet duet. So we scored out where it would go… where we would play harmony… and where to put the solo section. I asked Greg if he would guest on this, and he said “yes” – which was wonderful. We got him the track and he played on it… and the rest is history.

Jazz Monthly: And it’s a great great… I don’t even want to use the word “cover”… record. By the way, when you mentioned that you often sing “You’re All I Need To Get By” perhaps to start some of your concerts, your point is well taken in that you want to give the audience something that they can relate to and that they might know… and then once they know the song and they are snapping their fingers or stamping their feet, then some of your originals will be more acceptable and digestible… right?

PA: Well, you’re a musician, you understand what I’m talking about… if you perform something that someone can relate to, and then they are kind of like “with you.”… I hope I’m explaining this right…

Jazz Monthly: You’re doing great. Keep going! Keep going! (Paula Laughing)

PA: It’s easier to go from “there.” It’s like you both speak different languages and you found a few words in common that you can both understand… and that’s what a “cover tune” can accomplish.

Jazz Monthly: Very good, Paula. That’s as about as close you’ll come to an analogy. What you just said. A few words… and now you’re on the same plane – you’re on the same level! You’re right. People are kind of dipping their toes in the ocean water so to speak. If you just dive right in, and the water temperature is 58 degrees, you can have a heart attack! But, if you just kind of ease into it gently, right?

PA: Yes, absolutely. You know we were speaking earlier about the “Groove With Me” being eclectic. Now you know Joe, nobody who is thinking about “You’re All I Need To Get By” is really going to call that a jazz tune, right?

Jazz Monthly: Yes. Good point.

PA: That’s more the genre that I was speaking before: “Old School R&B” and “Funk” which is definitely evident in a bunch of tunes on here. So again, it’s an eclectic recording that definitely has “Contemporary Jazz” elements in it. It seems to me that contemporary jazz has come to encompass things like: Old School R&B, Funk, Latin, etc., all under that umbrella.

Jazz Monthly: Wow! Well said.
Let’s talk about some of the other cuts. Some of the originals. And again my friend, you really aced this project. You really did! I mean it was worth the wait… four years.
The first cut is “Marimba Island.” It has a nice hint of the islands here and it has a real solid groove.

PA: Yes, thank you. Dave Delhomme did some really wonderful keyboard work on this particular cut. We’ve got Schuyler Deale on bass and Lionel Cordew on drums… of course Emedin Rivera on percussion. Emedin is on every cut on the CD… and Lou playing guitar… electric and acoustic guitars actually on this particular cut.

Jazz Monthly: You know when you go into the release of the tune, there’s a deep, deep groove there, and really a lot of fine soloing.

PA: Thank you. This is the only song that has a flute melody or solo on it.
Jazz Monthly: The other thing I noticed, Paula, is that on your flute solo, you weren’t just going 100 miles and hour in “park” so to speak, as some players might do. It was just a great solo and very pleasing.

PA: I’m glad you feel that way. I’m glad you like it. I try to take my time when I’m taking a solo and build something and make it make sense. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Jazz Monthly: I’m saying this jokingly, in listening to “Marimba Islands,” I almost felt like having one of those tropical drinks with the little paper umbrella in it (laugh)…

PA: I always feel like having one of those! (both laughing)

Jazz Monthly: And then of course, the second cut “ There Ain’t Nothin,” again Paula you took another fine solo… also very nice percussion on it to.

PA: Thank you. That song was actually written as a vocal song, and we did include the vocal version on the CD; so you get two versions of that particular song.

Jazz Monthly: That’s right. The final cut you have the vocal version, right?

PA: Yeah, I just wanted to make sure that it received airplay. Some play lists, in general… in this particular genre, play less vocals then instrumentals. A lot of times when I’m doing a vocal tune, I’ll do an instrumental version of it, unless I absolutely don’t want an instrumental version of it. Case in point would be “Send Down An Angel.”
The words were too important to me to do an instrumental of it.

Jazz Monthly: Yes, Yes… absolutely. You’re quite accurate. Did you ever write a song that started out as a vocal and you just thought that it would be better received or performed just to keep it instrumental?

PA: Yes, actually “Winds Of Change” is instrumental because the lyrics were just way too personal. I can’t release it like this… (laughing) it has to be an instrumental.

Jazz Monthly: You know on “Block Party” I loved the opening. It kind of reminded me of a cross between Santana and the band “War.” Eric Burton’s War. Remember?

PA: Yes.

Jazz Monthly: Just a great performance by all of you.

PA: Thank you. That song was a lot of fun. That was one of the tunes that was written right after “Whenever You Come Around.” That was written earlier on.

Jazz Monthly: Speaking of “Whenever You Come Around,” very expressive vocals by you and your background vocalist. In fact, you co-wrote “Whenever You Come Around.”

PA: Yes. Schuyler Deale’s on that song with me as far as songwriting credit goes. I really felt that he had an influence on the way the song came out. He has writer’s credit also on that song.

Jazz Monthly: Let’s talk about “JB.” What a smokin’ groove on that one – right out of the gate! You know, Paula, when I listen to JB, I think of a smoky nightclub where you are just groovin’ with the band… you know what I mean?

PA: I hope you get that! (laughing) I listen to that song and it just makes me laugh because it’s very spirited, and the whole thing with the James Brown voice over is just…

Jazz Monthly: It’s just festive. It reminds me of how jazz clubs used to be. Greg Adams takes a hip muted trumpet solo on that and then you kind of piggyback on Greg’s trumpet solo… and then it really explodes! It’s just a great groove! As I said earlier, even traditional jazz purists will love this whole CD, because there’s just such great playing on it!

PA: I hope so, even though this is not a straight-ahead jazz CD, which I still do a lot of playing and singing in that genre. But, who doesn’t enjoy playing and singing the old standards… the wonderful writing?

Jazz Monthly: That’s how you got started, right?

PA: Absolutely. I still do gigs like that… duo and trio and things like that. “Groove With Me” is obviously not that, I hope that people that are more inclined to listen to that type of music will maybe give us a little listen. I think there might be something in here for them to like.

Jazz Monthly: There’s a lot in there. Don’t be so modest Paula. (both laughing) There’s a lot in this CD. Being surrounded by great musicians and being a great musician yourself Paula, you have to be pleased with this project.

PA: I’m very excited about it! You know, there were times I was thinking that it was never going to get done. (laughing) That it’s never coming out. You know, it’s hard putting something like this together and giving it its wings. We just started radio promotion. This is the third week and it’s going very well. I just started to do some station ID’s. I’m doing one for this station in Houston KPVU later today. I recorded an interview for City Sounds radio in the state of Washington yesterday. It’s a lot of work to get it out there, but, it’s a wonderful kind of work. You certainly don’t mind doing it when it’s for a project that you’re proud of.

Jazz Monthly: What’s on the horizon for Paula Atherton.

PA: We are hoping that this CD does well, that we can break into the radio and record charts and do well. We are hoping to put together some nice performance dates together and get out there and do some playing.
Jazz Monthly: And our readers can visit your web site at?

PA: I actually have two websites. My personal web site is: And I have a my space page, which is:

Jazz Monthly: Well it’s been a delight, and I urge our viewers to get this CD: “Groove With Me” by Paula Atherton. I mentioned earlier, she is surrounded by super stars of the business and… in many way I think you are a superstar!

PA: Well, thanks. Thank you very much! It’s really been a great interview! It’s wonderful to have an interviewer like you who’s also a musician and understands the music and can ask such insightful questions.

Jazz Monthly: God bless you. You already have a lot to be proud of. Paula Atherton… you are more than on your way. You are THERE… my friend.

PA: Thank you so much!

For More Information Visit

- Jazz Monthly

"Groove with Me Album review"

Album Review
In the late 2000s and early 2010s, Mindi Abair, Candy Dulfer, and Jessy J were the funky, sensuous female sax players getting all the A-list gigs and radio and retail attention — but based on this diverse, explosive debut, there's no reason that the multi-talented Paula Atherton shouldn't be joining their ranks. Atherton's vehicle of seduction is a bit curious. The disc is called Groove with Me, so the listener might wonder why the rhythms are so light and breezy on the tropical-flavored opener, "Marimba Island." On the CD cover, she's holding what looks like a tenor sax, so why is she charming us with her breezy flute? That's where patience and continued listening pay off — what follows is pretty darn gritty and funky. "There Ain't Nothin'" is a deep, sensuous, and soulful midtempo ballad, a perfect radio-ready charmer complete with trumpet and light background vocal accents. But the real fun begins on the bluesy easy funk jam "Block Party" (which features the subtle electric guitar of Chieli Minucci behind Atherton's potent melodic lines), and the party gets rolling into the night on the in-your-face brass-athon James Brown tribute "JB," which features Greg Adams doing his Tower of Power trumpet thing in a blistering horn section. Adams also adds his cool energy to a high-spirited twist on the soul classic "You're All I Need to Get By." Atherton's melodic focus is on numerous woodwinds, but her original R&B lead vocal tunes "Whenever You Come Around" and "Send Down an Angel" can give great modern urban jazz vocalists like Maysa a run for their sexy soul money. Her balance of sweet soprano-driven tunes like "Winds of Change (Yes We Can)" and blazing all-night-long dance-funk explosions like "Funk It Up!" may remind some of the dashing stylistic eclecticism of Dave Koz. Truly one of the best indie smooth urban jazz sax collections of this decade turning era.
- posted on itunes/by Jonathan Widran

"Let Me Inside Your Love"

Review from
Wes Gillespie

Artist :: Paula Atherton & Interplay
Album :: Let Me Inside Your Love
Label :: Paula Atherton Music

Paula Atherton was one of the 12 Finalists in our recent 'Search For A New Jazz Star' sponsored by Sony Jazz and this album is currently riding high in the US Top 100 Albums Chart.
Little wonder as it is a cool blend of self-penned smooth, Latin and contemporary jazz and has been expertly crafted by the musician who started playing flute at the age of nine and moved on to saxophone, keyboards and vocals in later life. She also had the distinction of performing at the White House for the inauguration ceremony of the then president and jazz fan Bill Clinton.

'Let Me Inside Your Love' is a celebration of more than two years work, writing it and recording it piecemeal inbetween fulfilling TV appearances, touring at both home and abroad with her band Interplay and continuing her study of music under the tutelage of some of the city's great teachers including Bob Mintzer, Lee Konitz and Sal Mosca.

The album is full of variety and stretches Paula's talents to the full on soprano sax, alto sax, flute and vocals. The opening 'I Long For Your Love' is straight out of the modern day 'Smooth Jazz' idiom with a mid tempo swayer in the David Sanborn or Tom Scott vein with distinctive riffs and an excellent choice of octaves. Lou Gimenez provides an intriguing guitar accompaniment on this stunnig opener which is ideal for radio play.

Another one of our 12 Finalists in the 'Search For A New Jazz Star', Steve Briody joins Paula on 'The Long Road Home' where Paula changes to soprano sax. It is a smooth ballad with a fretless bass solo from the Jaco Pastorius school of bass by Roy de Jesus. This is a free flowing arrangement which showcases her abundant talent to the full.

'One Last Goodbye' and 'Samba Azul' are Latin tracks, the former a dramatic vocal outing with a moving flamenco guitar played once again by Gimenez and the latter track an up tempo excursion with clever harmonised flute interludes which are perfect for a CD.

There are two versions of the title track 'Let Me Inside Your Love', one vocal and one instrumental, the instrumental is straight out of the David Sanborn 'top drawer' and when I played this track for some knowledgeable smooth jazz colleagues, they were sure it was Sanborn. ( High praise indeed for the much in demand lady who has performed with many top international stars including George Benson.) An excellent urban groove which provides testimony to the overall quailty of this album.

Other notable tracks on the set are 'Fireflies' with some close sax harmonies and a free flowing jam which is essential listening. 'Silk Pajamas' has an 'urban' feel to it and a catchy tape loop which is saturated with emotive playing by the lady from the Big Apple.

A wonderful album for he modern smooth jazz movement and no wonder it is receiving so much airplay and attention on both sides of the Atlantic. Comes highly recommended.

- Wes Gillespie

"Paula Atherton & Interplay"

Review from Contemporary Jazz

Paula Atherton & Interplay
Let Me Inside Your Love
Review by Jeff Charney

Paula Atherton is a singer, saxophonist, flutist and composer from the New York area. She was the bandleader/sax player on the Lifetime network comedy show “Girls Night Out.” She has performed in Portugal, Monte Carlo and extensively in Japan as well as around the US. She has also played for President Clinton’s inauguration. That said her debut CD with her band Interplay is a winner. The band features another up and comer guitarist Steve Briody. Let Me Inside Your Love is a combination of pop R&B tunes featuring Atherton singing and playing some dynamite licks behind it (“Let Me Inside Your Love,” “If I Hold You In My Arms“) as well as some good contemporary jazz that frankly rivals anything that you might hear from the big boys and girls in the Smooth Jazz genre. Tracks like “I Long For Your Love,” “Fireflies” (my favorite), “Sik Pajamas” and "Raining" could and should be heard on any Smooth Jazz radio station. All sax oriented. “Samba Azul” is a Brazilian flavored song that has Atherton donning the flute. She plays it flawlessly. The band is tight as well. It seems that half the record is Jazz and the other half is Pop/R&B which could be either a good or bad thing depending on how one looks at it and what the consumer is interested in. Personally I’m interested in playing the sax oriented songs on my radio shows because I enjoyed them and think that they are good. - Contemporary Jazz

"Groove with Me review"

I have a problem with the music industry putting people in categories. Sometimes well rounded performers are pushed toward miss-shaped boxes or type casted musically. Paula Atherton doesn't fit in a box and her music blows off all of the charts.

As a singer, songwriter, producer, band leader and the master of several instruments -- the lady is awesome. The day I received her CD was an unusually warm March day in Metro Detroit. I popped her CD in the car - openned the sunroof and cruised around Southeastern Michigan moving and grooving. Stopped at a traffic light and brother in the next car wanted to know what radio stiation I was listening to. Yeah, it's that good.

Born and raised in New York, Atherton's CD "groove with me" is sexy, sophistocated and urban. I especially like "Winds of Change" (Yes We Can). My older brother says every super hero needs a theme song. I can imagine this song bumping on the White House ipod. There is also a 'sweet' version of the Motown classic,"You're All I Need to Get by" written by Ashford and Simpson - originally performed by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

"groove with me" is musically satisfying. It is an excellent addition to your collection.

check her out at:

***** 5 stars

- Key of Gee

"Groove with Me review Smooth jazz vibes"

Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a personal perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. As if from no-where, and courtesy of her brand new project Groove With Me, singer, songwriter and woodwind player Paula Atherton has dramatically emerged as a major player on the contemporary jazz scene. This sensational collection features eleven of Atherton’s original compositions plus one well chosen cover and, with the perfect blend of instrumental and vocal cuts, oozes quality throughout. The production of Lou Gimenez (who also makes significant contributions on acoustic and electric guitars) is never anything short of top-notch and with some fantastic guest musicians to lend a hand the entire recording is a total delight.

New York based Atherton has opened for the likes of Chuck Loeb, Patti Austin, Tito Puente and saxophonist Najee. In 2004 her debut CD Let Me Inside Your Love made its mark on the national contemporary jazz charts while in 2006 a cut from this album, ‘I Long For Your Love’ was included on the compilation Ladies of Jazz that also featured Natalie Cole, Candy Dulfer and Eliane Elias. Her television work includes appearances on the Today Show, Good Morning America and, as bandleader, for the Lifetime network show, Girl’s Night Out. In addition, Paula performed at fundraisers during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and in 2002 wrote the score for the independent film ‘The Definition of Insanity’.

She has crammed this musical pedigree into every note of Groove With Me which opens with the zesty ‘Marimba Island’. It’s a track that evokes white crested waves breaking over warm white sand and shimmers with Atherton’s wonderful flute playing. This terrific example of textbook smooth jazz is in the good company of the funky yet melodic ‘Block Party’ which is blessed by Chieli Minucci on guitar and the outstanding Dave Delhomme on keyboards. Atherton on alto sax is tremendous and she stays with alto for ‘There Ain’t Nothing’. Opening with a clear hint of those killer chords from the Boz Scaggs classic ‘Lowdown’ the tune drips with all the rhythm and melody you will ever need and finds Atherton delivering on every conceivable level.

When, later, she reprises the song with her own picture perfect vocals the result is just as good and, given Atherton’s prowess as a vocalist, it’s surprising that she sings on only three other tracks. The first, ‘Whenever You Come Around’, is a breathtaking example of smooth R & B that has the added benefit of Darin Brown on keys whilst the heartfelt ‘Send Down An Angel’ allows Atherton to demonstrate another side of her myriad talents. The equally romantic ‘Falling’ provides more of the pleasing same but when Paula is joined by former Tower of Power trumpeter Greg Adams for the ultra funky ‘JB’ they together crank up the volume for a high octane tribute to the great James Brown. Baron Raymonde on tenor and baritone sax adds extra horsepower while the whole piece fizzes with a horn driven frenzy. This same energy is a key component of the aptly titled ‘Funk It Up’ for which Atherton calls on noted keyboard player Onaje Allan Gumbs and it is a feature of the CD that she is able to move seamlessly from the up tempo to the tranquil and all points between. For the tender ‘Winds Of Change (Yes We Can)’ she is at her melodic best on soprano sax and whereas ‘Light As Air’ is jazzy, interesting and beautifully performed the album’s only cover, the Ashford & Simpson composition ‘You’re All I Need To Get By’, is big, brassy, and thanks in no small part top more great trumpet from Adams, funky too.

To select a favourite from a collection replete with riches is no easy task but, all things considered, this accolade goes to the edgy mid tempo ‘Say It Baby’. Lionel Cordew on drums and bass-man Schuyler Deale lay down a massive foundation; Brown is again immense on keys and, between blowing up a storm on sax, Atherton still finds time to combine with Naomion for some high calibre backing vocals.

Groove With Me is a real gem and comes highly recommended. For more on Paula Atherton go to

Do you have any comments on what you have found in this edition of the Secret Garden? If so please e-mail me on

Posted by Denis Poole at June 7, 2009 6:45 PM
- Smooth Jazz Vibes


Let Me Inside Your Love on Dream records
Ladies of Jazz on Warner Europe
Groove With Me on Dream On Records released 6/16/09
Jazz Infusion Session 2 (released 2011)
Enjoy the Ride (Dot Time Records (2012)

Ear Candy (Kalimba Music 2015)



Paula Atherton 

Sax player/vocalist Paula Atherton has shared the stage with such contemporary jazz notables as The Rippingtons,  Nick Colionne,  Chuck Loeb, Cindy Bradley, Gail Jhonson, Karen Briggs, Althea Renee, Matt Marshak, Four80East, David Sanborn, Bob James, Chieli Minucci and Shilts.  Paula has also worked in the traditional jazz field; one of the notable performances being a week long engagement at the Blue Note NYC with pianist and jazz legend, Hank Jones. 


In 2006, a cut from Paula’s first album, ‘I Long For Your Love’ was included on the Warner Europe compilation ‘Ladies of Jazz’ that also featured Natalie Cole, Candy Dulfer and Eliane Elias. Paula’s 2009 release, “Groove with Me,” featured many special guests, including Chieli Minucci, Greg Adams, and Onaje Allan Gumbs. AMG (Artists Music Guild) nominated Paula as artist and female vocalist of the year, “Groove with Me” for album of the year, and “Send Down An Angel” (which reached #9 on FMQB’s  adult contemporary chart with 899 spins) for song of the year.

Paula’s last release, “Enjoy the Ride,” has special guests Nick Colionne and Cindy Bradley.  The first single, “Sassy Strut” (featuring, and written by Nick Colionne) was on the Billboard smooth jazz chart for 15 weeks, and reached #15.  The second single. “Herbie” was on the Billboard chart for 7 weeks, reaching #22.



Some 2012 appearances include Berks Jazz festival, at which Square Business magazine described her as being “outrageously glamorous”, performing with the all- female group, Jazz in Pink.   Paula performed at the Duck Jazz festival in North Carolina in October 2012, and the Town of Duck news said, “Paula Atherton came to the Duck stage from NYC.  The audience was blown away by her talent, as she switched from flute, to sax, to vocals.  It is no surprise that Atherton has been labeled a major player on the contemporary jazz and pop music scene.” Some performances in 2013 included Capital Jazz fest in MD with Jazz in Pink, Spaghettini’s in Seal Beach, Balcones Heights Jazz fest in TX, and Low Country Jazz fest and Las Vegas Jazz fest, both with Jazz in Pink, and Rehoboth Jazz fest with Nick Colionne. Paula played the Berks Jazz fest last year also (2014), with Project 222.


Her television work includes appearances on the Today show, Good Morning America, and Rachel Ray, with Michael Bolton, and, as bandleader for the Lifetime network show, ‘Girl’s Night Out’. Paula performed at fundraisers during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and also wrote the score for the independent film ‘The Definition of Insanity’.


Paula is an LA sax artist, and appeared at the NAMM show in CA for them in January 2013.  Paula released a new CD titled, “Ear Candy” on February 17th, 2015 on the Kalimba Music label. Special guests include Nick Colionne, Cindy Bradley, and Gail Jhonson,  Some 2014 and 2015 dates include Jazz at Jack’s in Denver, Discover jazz Series Detroit, Spaghettini’s, Jazz in the Park in Birmingham,  AL, Idlewild, Music Fest MI,  Smooth Jazz Festival in Atlanta,  and the New Brunswick Jazz Fest in NJ



Band Members