L.A TEMPTATION (2012)
Review by Marco Spath - Aor Heaven // Write AOR, the
project of multi-talent Frédéric Slama, has turned into a true hit. With
regularity he gathers the crème de la crème of the Melodic Rock scene to
breathe life into his new songs. For “L.A. Temptation” he could hire James
Christian (HOUSE OF LORDS), Göran Edman (ex-STREET TALK), Chris Ousey
(HEARTLAND), Philip Bardowell (PLACES OF POWER), Paul Shortino (KING KOBRA) and
many others. Compared with AOR’s previous releases “L.A. Temptation” has turned
out a bit heavier as the classic Westcoast influences of the early albums have
been eclipsed. It goes without saying that there are still some TOTO influences
on “L.A. Temptation”, but the similarities with acts like SURVIVOR, JOURNEY or
BAD ENGLISH are way more obvious this time. For fairness reasons I have to
mention here that seven of the twelve new songs were already used for the
recent CHASING VIOLET album “Outside Heaven”. Due to the male vocals the new
versions sound rougher and more resolute. The album’s strongest songs are the Göran
Edman sung “Above Suspicon” that brings back some wonderful STREET TALK
memories, the guitar-refined “From L.A. To Paris” with HEARTLAND’s Chris Ousey
on vocals, the surprisingly emotionally sung “Silent Victory” featuring Paul
Shortino and the dynamic opener “No Margin For Error”. A really good album.
Review by Barry McMinn - Frontiers Mag // "L.A Temptation" is the latest album from Frédéric
Slama and his AOR project and once again ha has an array of stars of the
Melodic and Hard Rock world both musically and vocally. The list reads like a
who's who and far too many to name, but i can tell you about the music. This
album has a little harder edge to
the previous albums, but don't worry, Slama hasn't gone all Trash Metal. He's
taken a few more Hard Rock and Melodic Rock elements and mixed them with the
traditional Westcoast AOR sound that we've become familiar with from the AOR
albums and produced a gorgeous mix that will warm the hearts of fans of all
three genres. Some prime examples have to be the riff laden "A Heartbeat
Away" (feat. James Christian), the moody "Silent Victory" (feat.
Paul Shortino), the rocking "Out On The Streets" (feat. Paul Sabu),
and "The Price To Pay " (feat. Hank Erix & Göran Edman). Just a
few of the twelve melodic monsters on what is another tremendous album from
Review by Rob Watkins - Uber Rock UK // Frederic Slama started
his musical career in France before decamping to L.A. where he lived for more
than a decade. After releasing a couple of solo albums during the eighties,
Frederic started a band, and this marked the birth of AOR (the band) and a succession
of L.A. themed album releases featuring famed guest musicians from groups such
as Toto, Chicago, FM and other musical luminaries from the world of AOR (the
genre) followed, and this collection I’m very please to say is no different -
featuring as it does numerous celebrated guest vocalists throughout the album’s
dozen tracks.‘No Margin For Error’ opens the
eleventh AOR opus and it features the singing talents of Philip Bardowell
(Unruly Child) on this slice of tune-age that immediately hits the higher
echelons of the American Orientated Rock movement offering you the listener
everything expected from this type of release. Famed Swedish singer Goran Edman adds
his fine vocal wares to ‘Above Suspicion’ and ‘Second Chance At Love’ with both
tracks well structured numbers with plenty of hooks and melodic moments. Edman
also shares dual vocal duties on ‘The Price To Pay’ alongside Hank Erix
(Houston) a track that soars like a long lost Iron Eagle theme song. ‘From L.A To Paris’ featuring Chris
Ousey (Heartland and Virginia Wolf) is one of the album’s real standouts with
yet more talented vocal tones setting this album alight with some soulful
British style and charisma. ‘A Heartbeat Away’ meanwhile rocks out with James
Christian (House Of Lords) adding a wonderous vocal to another chorus that is
full of pride for the songwriter. ‘Silent Victory’ brings Paul Shortino
(Rough Cutt and Quiet Riot) into the musical spotlight on this 80`s tinged gem,
then Rick Riso takes over on vocals for ‘No One’s Gonna Hurt Me Anymore` a well
crafted arrangement and catchy choral hooks throughout. The acclaimed Paul Sabu
picks up the microphone for ‘Out On The Streets’ and again on `Outside Heaven`,
and at this point AOR (genre and band) aficionados make note of this collection,
as you won’t be disappointed one jolt.As the album enters it’s final third
‘Hold Back The Dawn’ features Jerry Hludzik out front, and a special mention
should be given to the musicianship of AOR (the band) especially Paul Sabu for
his instrumentation on the album alongside the well respected Tommy Denander
who performs guitar, bass and of course the man himself Frederic Slama on
guitar and keyboards amidst the beautiful studio production also courtesy of
Slama.The record closes with Joey Summer taking the lead on 'When Darkness
Falls'. A.O.R. Heaven from AOR.
Review by Dave Reynolds - Aor Magazine // AOR just got heavier… The latest album in a surprisingly
lengthy catalogue from the French exponent of U.S Westcoast melodic rock,
Frédéric Slama, "L.A Temptation" finds our man eschewing the more laid back,
technical sounds of his past work and going in a much harder-hitting direction
akin to Survivor, Only Child and House Of Lords. (James Christian is one of
many guest lead vocalists featured here. Chris Ousey, Paul Shortino and Paul
Sabu also contribute.) The opener "No Margin For Error" set Slama's
stall out from the off and there really are some sterling performances to be
had here. "From L.A To Paris" with Ousey on vocals is exquisite – and
the majority, if not all, of the tracks, should find favour with this
magazine's readership. This is inarguably Slama's finest album under the AOR
THE COLORS OF L.A (2012)
Review by Chris Lambert - Rock Report // Write a bunch of catchy AOR/westcoast songs, invite some excellent vocalists plus an impressive lot of guest musicians, produce the whole thing yourself and make sure there’s a reference to the city of Los Angeles (always spelt as L.A) … That’s the method our French friend Frédéric Slama has used for all of his AOR albums. So, what makes this one different from its predecessors? Not much, except for the fact that the album contains some songs that were already present on earlier AOR albums, but now in a fully re-recorded version. What passes is review are ten vocal and two instrumental tracks and as always there’s a wealth of quality on offer. Among the vocalists this time around are Joe Pasquale, Jerry Hludzik (2 tracks), Steve Newman, Joey Summer, Philip Bardowell (3 tracks) and Rick Riso (2 tracks). As always it provides the necessary variation and that’s what makes every AOR album such a captivating listening session. I just don’t know why Mr Slama found it necessary to re-record some older tracks. Were they not good enough the first time around then? Anyway, what I do like is that the album ends with two real good instrumentals. The cutest tracks are opener “Jenny At Midnight” (ft. Joe Pasquale), “Under Your Spell” (ft. Joey Summer), “Halo Of Light” (ft. Rick Riso), “Dreams From Silver Lake” (ft. Jerry Hludzik) and “You’re My Obsession” (ft. Philip Bardowell). Conclusion: For me “The Colors Of L.A” is by far the best new album that was released in the first month of 2012. 5½/6.
Review by Dave Ling - Classic Rock // Compiled with the usual selection of special guests, here's another West Coast banquet from the impeccably well-connected guitarist and songwriter Frédéric Slama. Players include Steve lukather, David Foster and Tommy Denander, with vocals cameos from former Unruly Child mouthpiece Philip Bardowell and Newman's Steve Newman. no doubt about it, Slama is a master of his craft. 8/10
Review by Ian Johnson - Fireworks Magazine // Frédéric Slama returns with a brand new AOR album, and once again it features a lengthy list of the great and the good who play west coast music. And if i were lazy i could just write a long list of who is on it, and leave it at that. This list would include Tommy (of course i'm here) Denander, Steve Lukather, Mike Landau, Philip Bardowell, jerry Hludzik, Peter Friestedt, Bill Champlin and usually that would be enough. However, that would of course be a massive disservice to Mr. Slama and his cohorts, who have more than played their part on this new release and have together recorded yet another fine disc of highly melodic west coast AOR and therefore deserve a proper review. I would therefore like to tell you about some of the wonderful songs on "The Colors Of L.A". Opening cut "Jenny At Midnight" is a smooth light AOR track filled with killer keyboard runs and sublime vocals courtesy of Joe Pasquale, "Benedict Canyon" sung by Dakota's Jerry Hludzik is another fine slice of laid back west coast perfection, that features a quite superb guitar solo, "Kimberly" follows and it is the least AOR (band) track on the album, sung by our very own Steve Newman, the song is the heaviest cut on the cd and come across as more of a Newman song, rather than an AOR one. "Brittany" is a song written in tribute to the late actress Brittany Murphy, sung by Philip Bardowell, the lyrics are heartfelt though the track is a little up-tempo for a tribute. Now for a song that just blew me away, "Halo Of Light" and it rocks, the guitars are again wonderful and the keyboard fills smooth but where the track really gets its power from is in the vocals of Rick Riso, a man blessed with a voice not unlike that of the god that is Glenn Hughes, and it is he who really brings the best out of this cut. Riso reappears on "Teach Me How To Love You Again" a jazzy easy going track that once shows just how good a singer he is. The song has also a wonderful saxophone solo from Brandon Fields, which is full of soul and emotion. The last vocal track i'd like to tell you about is "Dreams From Silver Lake", sung by Hludzik, the song reminding me of his own band Dakota circa their "Runaway" album. Catchy and hook filled the song is a fantastic way to round things off. Finally there are two instrumentals bonus cuts, "Grace" and "Never Gonna Let Her Go" which are the epitome of west coast rock, cleverly arranged, and full of awesome musicianship. Mr. Slama and his associates have made another superb album of west coast music and lovers of this genre should beg, steal or borrow to get a copy - or better still of course, buy one !
Review by Denys - My Global Mind // You know certain projects just work in
their respective genres, and the AOR laden project of French man Frédéric
Slama falls into this category. Slama having lived in LA for 10 years himself
associated himself with some big time names when it came to session guitarists
and amazing talent which later down the line have contributed greatly into
his AOR projects. For some of the genre the AOR release “LA Reflection” was the
cream of the crop when it was released in 2002 landing on many journalists top
lists of West Coast records. It has seemed to be a who’s who name list for each
consequent release for Slama and AOR as he has managed to keep on collaborating
with some immense talent in the genre and consistent
players/producers the likes of Tommy Denander for instance. Forward back
to 2012 and here we go once more with the 10th official studio album featuring
more talent such as (Philip Bardowell, Jerry Hludzik (Dakota), Joe Pasquale,
Steve Newman, Joey Summer, Bill Champlin (Chicago), Christian Tolle, Steve
Lukather, Michael Landau, David Foster, Randy Goodrum, Michael Thompson, Rick
Riso, David Diggs and many more.) Not only is the
talent involved great, but the music has always been intricately showcasing a
mix of West Coast and Melodic Rock staples throughout the years proving
to be a nice balance of melodic bliss.The trademark West Coast sound is clearly
visible with it’s production which is superb once more and being handled by
Denander. Pure AOR staples like “Benedict Canyon” are great examples of
the style that Slama portraits best, nice job of vocals by Jerry Hludzik.
The next track “Kimberly” features the great Steve Newman on vocals and he
brings a slightly harder edge to this song, as it leans more towards
the Melodic Rock side of things, consequently this tune features
a nice harder groove and is a great tune. The solidity of the
quality of the songs keep rolling forward with nice numbers like “Just
One Kiss on Your Heart” featuring Philip Bardowell on vocals alongside some exhilarating guitar
hooks that invigorate the track.This is an AOR/Melodic Rock purists dream as
the talent here provides a stable backbone for each song, Slama does well as usual assembling
the core of the talented guest musicians throughout the album, and he
does a solid job on guitars and keyboards. This has always been a music project
for pure lovers of the AOR genre and for the quality of the songwriting and the
guest always involved, it deserves some well refined feedback. The Colors
of L.A. delivers yet again with a crisp clean production to add to add on top
of it’s top tier music.
Review by Andy Nathan - Get Ready To Rock // Its a real statement of intent, and possibly a foolhardy one, when
you call your band after your chosen genre of music. However French
guitarist and songwriter Frederic Slama has called on his contacts from
ten years in California to make a series of well received albums, of
which I must admit this is the first to cross my radar.His networking skills match his musical talent with an array of the
cream of West Coast session players with Steve Lukather, David foster,
Michael Landau, Michael Thompson and Bill Champlin among the guests. But
his main musical collaborator is Tommy Denander, who has the Midas
touch when it comes to great sounding melodic rock, and who successfully
ploughed a similar furrow with his Radioactive projects. The ten
tracks- plus two instrumentals- feature no less than six lead singers
including Brighton’s own Steve Newman whose Kimberly loses little by
comparison with his stateside colleagues.The instrumentation is lush, with guitar and keyboards and piano
clearly coming out of the mix, and super smooth, precise vocals
throughout. The openers Jenny at Midnight and Benedict Canyon (surely
the only song to reference reading both Keats and Emerson!) are some of
the best songs of their type this side of prime time 1980’s Toto or
Chicago. The fare eventually gets a bit samey, with many of the singers
interchangeable, but Philip Bardowell can lift even the most humdrum
material and his Lou Gramm-esque delivery on Just One Kiss on Your Heart
and You’re My Obsession are other highlights.With music this quality, Slama’s future is as bright as the garish rainbow colours on the sleeve of this album.
Review by Dave Ling - Aor Magazine // Frenchman's West Coast fantasia is fine indeed ! Frédéric Slama has aroused a certain degree of suspicion over the distinguished collaborators who features on the albums he's released as AOR. But how much of their time would high-calibre musos like Steve Lukather, David Foster, Michael Landau, Bill Champlin, Randy Goodrum or Vinnie Colaiuta spare to no-hope charlatan? As a connoisseur of West Coast music, Slama - who produces, performs and writes - knows what he wants to hear, and should famous friends share that visoin, they muck in and make them come true. With vocals by Newman's Steve Newman and former Unruly Child/ Beach Boys mouthpiece Philip Bardowell, this album's shimmering melodic qualities are best characterised by the classy "Benedict Canyon". 8/10
L.A AMBITION "THE BEST OF AOR" (2010) Review by Chris Lambert - Rock Report // To celebrate AOR’s tenth anniversary, Escape Music and project leader Frédéric Slama decided to release this limited edition digipak compilation, containing a total of 28 tracks which are spread over two CDs: a hard one (but don’t take that too literally) and a soft one. It isn’t the first AOR compilation that is thrown on the market. In 2004 we already got the independently released « Nothing But The Best », which brought together twelve memorable songs of the first four AOR albums as well as an additional three unreleased tracks, that opened the sampler in great style. Since then, Frédéric has released another three AOR albums: « L.A Attraction » (MTM Music, 2006), a re-issue of 2000’s « L.A Concession » (MTM Music, 2006) and « Journey To L.A » (Escape Music, 2009). For this double compilation, songs have been taken from every past release and five previously unreleased bonus tracks (demos and new mixes, all of good quality) have been thrown in for good measure (the songs are marked with *). Expertly remastered by Martin Kronlund, this is an absolute must for all those out there who have yet to get acquainted with the westcoast/AOR material of this always sympathetic Frenchman. Featuring a total of 42 top musicians (see the list), nothing could actually go wrong. In other words: this is the ultimate AOR compilation. 5½/6.
Review by Dave Ling – Classic Rock // Kicking off with a track sung by FM's Steve Overland, this two-disc, 28 songs retrospective of the French band AOR is divided into The Hard Side and The Soft Side. Although the latter disc gets a little too syrupy, the collection's special guest-strewn contents are heartily recommended to fans of Toto, Survivor and Chicago. 8/10
Review by David Cockett - Destiny // Bit of an all star studio project put together by French born guitarist / songwriter Frédéric Slama, the first AOR album ‘L.A Concession’ was released about a decade ago now. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the project, Slama and his current label Escape Music together have put together this limited edition, two CD digipack celebrating some of the highlights created over the ensuing years. One of the best pure Westcoast / AOR bands you’re ever likely to hear, over the years AOR has played host to some of the greatest luminaries the industry has ever produced. From a ‘who’s who’ list the likes of Steve Lukather, Bruce Gaitsch, Tommy Denander and Vinnie Colaiuta is impressive enough, but its always been the vocalists that have really set AOR apart from the rest to these ears – hell, how can you go wrong with class acts such as Steve Overland, Fergie Frederiksen, Bill Champlin, Goran Edman and Philip Bardowell (amongst others)! Split into a selection of heavier numbers (The Hard Disc) – although even heavy for AOR is still pretty mellow in absolute terms – and mellower moments (The Soft Disc), ‘L.A Ambition’ is a great introduction to the band, particularly as some of the earlier releases are now quite hard to find. All tracks have been remastered, and as an added incentive for established fans, there are an additional five previously unreleased demo’s from the 90’s. The whole thing kicks off with Steve Overland and the emotive magnificence of ‘You’re My Obsession’, and if you’re in the mood for something mellower to chill out to (much needed after the stress of watching England perform in South Africa … or not as the case may be!), it’s a great way to pass a couple of relaxing hours.
JOURNEY TO L.A (2009)
Review by Gez - Loud 1 // Frédéric Slama is an amazing guy who has produced some of the finest AOR albums ever made. In a fair world he would be a household name and perhaps if he'd chosen a different musical genre he would be, but thankfully he chose to play AOR music and for those of us who have discovered his musical magic he has given us many years of listening pleasure. Journey To LA his latest offering is simply a brilliant AOR album and truth be told if you are an AOR fan you SHOULD grab this album as it no only has some amazingly well penned tunes but it also reads like an A-Z of the best in the genre. If you like JOURNEY, TOTO, STRANGEWAYS, LAST AUTUMN'S DREAM, HEARTLAND, FM, HOPE or CLIF MAGNESS then you'll absolutely love this album. Its Brilliant. An essential purchase.
Review by Dave Ling – Classic Rock // AOR unites the cream of American and European melodic rock talent, including Toto alumni Steve Lukather and Fergie Frederiksen, FM’s Steve Overland, Bill Champlin of Chicago, Swedish guitar hotshot Tommy Denander and Beach Boys singer/guitarist Philip Bardowell. The outcome is a shimmering and immaculate slice of pure West Coast radio-rock. 8/10
Review by Dick Dijk - Fury Rocks // There are three things in life that get’s me excited: 1: my wife, 2: motorcycles, 3: music – uuhhh, o.k. four, between you and me I can tell you that Pamela Anderson also excites me, hahahaha-, but since I received AOR’s Journey To LA I’m walking around know with a hard one for several days and did have some spontaneous orgasm, because for the A.O.R/Melodic rock fans is this the ultimate record. Responsible for this mega album is the Frenchman (!) Frédéric Slama, his sixth album with the text LA in it. He succeeded to get some off the biggest names in the rock music to work with him and the list goes on and on. Tommy Denander – also producer - , vocalist Philip Bardowell from Places Of Power, Steve Overland – FM Shadowland- , Fergie Frederiksen – Toto- , Bill Champlin – Chicago- and Steve Lukather plays some guitar on it. From the list there’s one name that draw my personal attention and that’s guitarist, keyboardist Bruno Levesque from the highly underrated band Silence. It’s good to hear from him. But don’t let we forget that Frédéric Slama is the main man off this project, he’s a brilliant songwriter and with his amazing Journey To LA I’m for sure it’s going to end up in my year list. If he can keep up this level in the future I wish he’s going to be over a hundred years or more, because then I won’t be needing any Viagra when I’m older, hahaha. 9,8/10.
Review by Chris Lambert - Rock Report // There are not that many French artists that I admire, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be Monsieur Frédéric Slama, a.k.a. AOR. He’s specialized in AOR/westcoast and if it comes to recording a new album, he can always count on an impressive ‘cast’ of guest musicians, who are all well-known in session and westcoast circles. Produced by the man himself with the help of workaholic Tommy Denander, this “Journey To L.A” is another jewel in this Frenchman’s crown. I don’t know if he has to pay all these guest musicians, but if he does, he might probably be broke by now. Have a look at the list and I’m sure you will be impressed by the quality of what you see. And what’s more: Slama’s songs are fingerlickin’ good. He already came up with impressive stuff in the past, but this time around he has really pushed himself to an incredible level. Count to that the excellent performances of ace vocalists such as Philip Bardowell (Places Of Power), Steve Overland (FM, Shadowland, Overland), Fergie Frederiksen (Toto), Bill Champlin (Chicago) and songwriter Dane Donohue and you’ll agree with me that Frédéric left nothing to chance. I don’t have to pick highlights this time around, because this album is as good as perfect from start to finish. So, for all out there who love a catchy mix of AOR and westcoast, you know what to do … This one will certainly land in my top-10 of the year !!! 6/6
Review by Tommy Hash - Ytsejam // "Come into the warm summer sun" are what the sounds on Journey to L.A command, as the 'westcoast' album of 2009 has been unleashed. The project of French producer/musician/songwriter Frédéric Slama, this latest installment of his AOR supergroup project again pertains to the powerhouse sound that is a reflection of the Los Angeles vibe - big sound, big production, loads of guitars, and classy melodies. Along with co-producer Tommy Denander at the helm, vocalists include Philip Bardowell (Places of Power, Unruly Child), Steve Overland (FM, Shadowman), Fergie Frederiksen (Toto), Bill Champlin (Chicago), and well known west coast singer Dane Donohue; add the multitude of axemen, Steve Lukather, David Williams and Eric Barkdull and amongst a mass of musicians (all types of pop here, from hard rock to R&B, which adds diversity) - you know that the record was again set out to be all killer and no filler. While the pop sensilbility is in full-force throughout Journey to L.A. the hard rock element is cranked up on tunes such as the Overland fronted "Waiting in the Darkness," the soulfully metallic "Never Surrender," and the anthemic "Don't Turn Back," yet the melodramatic knack for AOR/melodic rock splendor is executed with cuts "Heartless," "Desperate Dreams," and the instrumental "Your My Obsession" while eased back moments include "Love Remains the Same," "The View of You," and the ballad "Lost in Your Eyes," where the latter could have easily have been a lost Toto track. Even with the different vocalists and musicians, the music does stay in focus with the consistency of catchiness and melodic gusto, rounding itself out as being both a songwriter's and a producer's record. Highly recommended for fans of Toto, Deacon Street Project, Ramos/Hugo, Vertigo, & Ambition. 4,5/5.
Review by David Cockett - Destiny // Something of a Westcoast / AOR all stars project built around the songwriting talents of Parisian born guitarist / keyboard player (and one time journalist) Frédéric Slama, the name AOR has over the course of time, become synonymous with quality. Debuting as long ago as 2000 with ‘LA Concession’ (originally a limited print run CD-R which eventually got reissued through the now defunct MTM imprint a couple of years back), Slama has continued to call in favours from some of the music industry’s most elite brethren, skilfully teasing superb performances from one and all as he strives for the most consummate West Coast / AOR release of all time. Follow up to 2006’s excellent ‘L.A. Attraction’ opus, ‘Journey To LA’ is the sixth studio release to bear the AOR name, and once again the quality and consistency is nothing short of astounding. Bolstered by a support cast of musicians which includes the likes of Tommy Denander, Steve Lukather and Bruno Levesque, Slama weaves his normal magic spell throughout, piquant guitar stabs and all pervasive keyboards creating a never ending series of infuriatingly catch hooks. As for the vocals, most this time come courtesy of Philip Bardowell, although Steve Overland, Fergie Frederiksen, Bill Champlin and Dane Donohue all chip in with one track each. Overland’s opener ‘Waiting In The Darkness’ is the show stealer for me (no surprises there I’m sure!), but ‘Just For Love’, ‘Desperate Dream’s’ and ‘Don’t Turn Back’ (to name but three) all have that elusive feel good factor guaranteed to lift your spirits on even the dullest of days. On the whole, the vibe is a little more upbeat than most AOR works that have gone before; less ballad heavy and more guitar driven which works just fine in my book! I’m tempted to say it’s the best AOR release to date, and whilst I know that’s a bit of a cliché, to these ears the quality just speaks for itself.
Review by Claudia Ehrhardt - Ice Vajal // The Paris-born guitarist and keyboarder Frédéric Slama lives in L.A. for more than a decade and he loves AOR and Westcoast music, so after doing some solo albums he started in 2000 the project AOR. The first album was LA Concession. Now it's time for the 7th release - Journey To LA. Again he teamed up with Tommy Denander and Philip Bardowell. The trio invited some renown musicians to join them and so the list of guests reads like the who-is-who of AOR and Westcoast music! To name just a few... Steve Overland, Fergie Frederiksen, Bill Champlin, Steve Lukather and David Williams - to name just a few! Songs like Don't Turn Back will soon haunt you! But also the emotional balladesque tune Love Remains The Same is catchy and brings back early 80's atmosphere. Close your eyes and let the song carry you away! Actually every one of these dozen tracks should convince you, so I won't recommend one or the other song to check out. One of my favorites is Desperate Dreams... Great guitar play and emotional vocals. Enchanting. Never Surrender is just shy of 8 minutes! A melodic heavy rocker which will win you over with its emotionality - and the guitar passage which dominates the 2nd half and the guitar kinda replaces the vocals. Heartless is another great one and West Into The Sun reminds me a bit of Chris Rea... And with Lost In Your Eyes they add a light jazz touch - very cool! The closer is You're My Obsession, an instrumental.Thanks to Frédéric Slama for keeping the AOR & Westcoast music alive! And for gathering such an amount of talent on one disc! 9/10
L.A CONCESSION with Bonus Tracks (2006 Reissue)
Review by Chris Lambert - Rock Report // Since Frenchman Frédéric Slama started his one man band AOR at the beginning of the new millennium, no less than five studio albums and one compilation have been released and all of them provided us with excellent westcoast music performed by the cream of (mostly) American and European westcoast (session) musicians. “L.A Concession” was the title of his first album and at the time (2000) it was only released as a strictly limited private pressing on CD-R only. No wonder silly high prices were offered at eBay! Following the success of “L.A Attraction”, which was released in January of this year, MTM Music decided to release AOR’s debut album officially, fully remastered for the occasion and now including no less than four previously unreleased bonus tracks (marked with *) plus a brand-new colour booklet containing all the lyrics. All this and the mighty impressive list of contributors must convince you to buy this, especially if you’re a fan of the genre.
Review by Chris - Metal Observer // Originally released somewhat sparingly on CDR ‘way back in 2000, AOR’s debut album has become a much sought after Melodic Rock release. Common sense has therefore prevailed and “L.A. Concession” is getting an official re-release beefed up with four bonus tracks to boot.If you are a fan of “Westcoast” US Melodic Rock then AOR will already be a familiar name. Being the brain child of French guitarist Frédéric Slama each AOR release features not only the sublime guitar talents of Slama but those of Steve Lukather, Michael Landau, David Chamberlin and Gregg Bissonette. So if you like TOTO, FOREIGNER, a bit of STYX, JOURNEY and REO SPEEDWAGON then you will be absolutely delighted with the offerings Slama et al put before you.Even as a devotee of all things Heavy Metal I’d like to think I can spot talent and a good song wherever and with AOR there’s quality a plenty. “Never Gonna Let Her Go” and “Caught Inside Your Heart” are slick classy pieces of melody infused Rock perfectly capturing that Westcoast sound. As with the previous two AOR albums “L.A. Reflection” and “Dreaming Of L.A", Slama has produced another match winner. It might be a purely niche market that he plays for but quality is quality. A definite Melodic Rock highlight to end the year.
Review by Eddy – Lords of Metal // Ever been to Los Angeles ? If you ever were or planning to do so in the future, you will never forget that experience anymore. It's one of the most exciting and beautiful places on earth. French rock journalist Frédéric Slama thought so too so he decided to leave his homeland France to move to the city of angels. Slama is not only a journalist, he also plays guitar and keyboards and has great skills to write beautiful melodic rock songs and produce them himself. L.A. is the main influence for him to write songs about. Just look at the titles of some of the albums he recorded under the flag of his project called AOR: 'Dreaming Of L.A', 'L.A Attraction' and now his new release 'L.A Concession'. Well actually, this is not a new album; it's a kind of a re-release from a demo from 2000. MTM Music picked it up, added four bonus-tracks to it and made an official release of it. Being to Los Angeles twice, I really get the vibe through his songs, when you close your eyes you can imagine yourself being there on the west coast of America. Once again he has filled a disk full with beautiful melodic (soft) rock songs. Of course he does not do all by himself, through his journalistic job he got access to some of the finest musicians on this earth. What to think about Lenny Castro, Vinnie Colaiuta, Michael Thompson, Gregg Bissonette and my pal Steve Lukather from Toto. With them this record just can't go wrong. They all bring out the best of themselves to help Mister Frédéric Slama fill up his new album with some fine A.O.R. music. So melodic friends, stop looking on Ebay for copies of Slama's 2000 cdr version, MTM Music will save you a lot of money with having this album in their catalogue now.
Review by Ian Johnson – Aor Dreamzones // Some of you may know this is the debut album from Frédéric Slama and was first released as a cd-r way back in 2000 and subsequently it has been fetching some silly prices on E-Bay, so thankfully MTM have done the right thing and re-released it with four bonus track’s to boot. Any of you who have followed Frédéric Slama’s career will know that what is on offer with this cd is sublime west-coast music played by an assortment of the world’s best exponents of the genre, Tommy Denander / Steve Lukather / Michael Landau / Jeff Porcaro etc, etc. And as such you also know just how good Mr. Slama is at crafting a top notch album full of cool aor that puts you in mind of those endless summer day’s and long hot night’s of a few month’s ago. That this is his debut album say’s a lot about the man because as the year’s have gone by Frédéric Slama has really stuck to his gun’s never really veering from his vision of recording the best /perfect west coast album and although he may have put together bigger and in some cases better line up’s this still stand’s the test of time as one hell of an album. Picking track’s from an album as good as this is hard but I’d like to steer you towards the hard edged ( for AOR anyway ) Leave Her To Heaven, the beautiful On Dangerous Ground or my album fave Only In My Dreams. The song’s production and musicianship are as good as you would expect from the AOR name and any of you who have heard of this release but have not been able to get a copy can now buy it with ease ( thank you MTM ), a classy slice of aor and one that I can highly recommend. ( If you already own the cd-r, this is still worth buying just for the four excellent bonus track’s that you get on the reissue ).
L.A ATTRACTION (2006)
Review by Eddy Freiberger - Lords Of Metal // AOR is a project by Frédéric Slama, a French rock journalist, who decided to move to Los Angeles ten years ago. In his line of work he got the chance to make contact with some of the finest musicians around, of course many of them from the L.A. area. Well, this Slama-man did not only write about music and musicians, he is also a very talented musician with an endless supply of great compositions in store. Since the year of 2000 he has been able to release an album every single year and 'L.A Attraction' is the 2006 album from this mastermind. This time he got names like Steve Lukather, Philip Bardowell, Rick Riso, J. Lynn Johnston, Dane Donohue, Peter Friestedt, David Diggs and Michael Landau committed to his project. These guests are all over this record but the base of AOR is Frédéric on guitars and keys, Tommy Denander on rhythm & lead-guitars, keys and bass and Joey Heredia (from Steve Lukathers solo-band El Grupo) on drums. The songs are a fine collection of all the best you might expect from bands like Toto, Survivor, Radioactive and Foreigner all put in a personal jacket by Mister Slama. Like the title says this music is dedicated to the city where Frédéric lives L.A. Over the years he already did many songs about this exciting city, you can almost taste the atmosphere of the city of Angels through his music. This new album can be highly recommended to the fans of the Adult Oriented Rock genre. It is the kind of music you will enjoy, sitting back relaxed in you living room, with candles, a glass of wine and no worries on your mind. It's difficult to point out the best songs when there is so much beauty on a record but the absolute best tunes are 'One More Chance', 'Like An Open Book', 'L.A. Winds' and the instrumental song 'Lost In Your Eyes'. If you close your eyes, Frédéric will lead you on his trip to all of L.A's Attractions. Score: 92/100
Review by Chris Lambert - Rock Report // No matter what some of our visitor’s might claim, I’m sure that the majority of so-called westcoast aficionados admire the oeuvre of Frenchman Frédéric Slama, better known under the pseudonym of AOR. His latest album was the indie released compilation “Nothing But The Best” and apart from 12 tracks chosen from his first four albums, it also contained three brand-new, impressive tracks, of which one was sung by Fergie Frederiksen and two by Dane Donohue. I ended my review of that compilation with the following words: “If the next studio album promises to be as good as the opening tracks on this compilation, we’re surely in for a treat…”. Well, we’re a little less than two years further now and here is that long-awaited next studio album, called “L.A Attraction”. It’s Slama’s fifth album and the follow-up of “Dreaming Of L.A”, released by AOR Heaven on September 28, 2003 and considered as his most complete/impressive album to that date. To cut a long story short, the new album (now released by MTM Music) is more of the same, albeit it slightly more rock-orientated. Wonderfully produced and arranged by Frédéric Slama, Tommy Denander (can you imagine a Toto-ish album without him?), Peter Friestedt and David Diggs, it’s another highlight featuring some of the finest musicians in the world of westcoast (see the list) and filled with mainly relaxed songs, that make me dream of L.A, which I visited last August. Slama doesn’t surprise me anymore, he just confirms his great talents! Ratings: 5/6
Review by George Thatcher - Glory Daze // Previously I never found the time to investigate Frédéric Slama's AOR. I should slap myself with a wet bus ticket, as the man has had a heap of albums, and with a name such as AOR.. well, who I am to argue the merits of a tremendous band name! So, you know what? I took time out to investigate some of the back catalogue as part of my West Coast/AOR refamiliarisation, and I came away impressed. This is now his sixth album, but this is the first for MTM Music. The line-up is as impressive as that which we've seen with Tommy Denander's Radioactive project, and I quite looked forward to this album as a result. I guess comparison wise, 'L.A Attraction' is not as west-coast oriented as some of those earlier albums. The album taking on an edgy hard rock/AOR tinge instead. Whether that's a good thing or not I'm not sure. I've been on a diet of AOR for a while now, and I was looking forward to something slightly different, but thats not to say I am not unhappy with what I'm hearing. Far from it. What we get is similar to Radioactive and Toto, while the songs and production are top-notch. Slama and co take us on a ride of exquisite mid-tempo numbers such as the power-ballad 'Like An Open Book', the gorgeous instrumental 'Lost In Your Eyes', or the slow seductive jazz/pop of 'Give A Little Love'. Variety is on display without a doubt. For the rockers among you, take solace that tunes such as 'How Could I Ever Forgive Her' and the excellent 'L.A Winds' keep the balance in check. But really, other great tunes like the piano laced 'House Of Love', or the warmth of the earthy sounding 'The Spark Of My Soul' add to what is already a compelling CD. One listen to 'L.A Attraction' will keep you occupied for a while. While you are at it, see if you can track down the other AOR albums. But a word of caution, if you ask for AOR records in particular, don't be surprised to get funny looks from people, otherwise they might suspect that you are trying to acquire all the great AOR records from the past, not just from the band called AOR! And that could have severe repercussions on your bank balance... Rating: 8.25/10
Review by Gabor Fabian - Strutter // The project of FRÉDÉRIC SLAMA called AOR has been a guarantee for quality music for a few years now with several albums. The new CD ‘LA Attraction’ is probably one of the best and most AOR based releases. This album sounds a lot like TOTO and RADIOACTIVE, also partly due to guitarists STEVE LUKATHER and TOMMY DENANDER who make an appearance! Without a doubt, this is one of those highly recommended albums to the fans of classic 80s AOR/Westcoast. The arrangements, the hooks, the vocals, the choruses, in fact the whole sound is basically pure 1982 LA based AOR/Westcoast like the perfect mix between TOTO, DAVID ROBERTS and FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS. The vocalwork is stunning by the several different singers, of which the most notable singer of them all is PHILIP BARDOWELL, the man who released a fantastic solo CD last year. 12 songs are included, starting with the strong catchy uptempo AOR/Melodic Rocker “How could I ever forgive her”, which is followed by the pure 80s TOTO Westcoast song “Don’t ever say goodbye”. Then comes the lovely relaxing laid-back midsummer eve’s FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS/ALLIANCE 1982 orientated “One more chance”. Up next is the HEARTLANDish calmer AOR song “Like an open book”. Back to the relaxing FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS style of the early 80s on the lovely AOR/Westcoast semi-ballad “The house of love”, which also has a DAVID ROBERTS type of chorus. “Tears in the rain” has a sort of soulful touch, kinda like GLENN HUGHES fronting TOTO, with then a pure AOR chorus. Somehow the following tracks are less stronger than the beginning of the CD. These are “I won’t give up on you”, “The spark of my soul” and “Last chance at love”, all suffering from average choruses. Happily, “L.A. Winds” with Philip Bardowell on vocals makes it up a bit as being a very strong midtempo AOR song. The final 2 tracks are “Give a little love” and “Lost in your eyes”, both less interesting for the AOR fans. So after a rather very good start (first 6 songs), the second part of the CD is less sensational and could have used some uptempo AOR rockers. Still it is a very well made record. Although TOTO are the masters of classic 80s Westcoastish AOR, I really think the new RADIOACTIVE and even some of the songs of this AOR CD release are better in my opinion than the new TOTO release ‘Falling in between’, but these are just my thoughts. This new AOR CD is a must-have for any AOR fan who also appreciated some Westcoast, but still something that needs to be in the collection of every AOR/Westcoast/TOTO fan, especially the first 5/6 songs of this CD are quite impressive, so better check it out asap ! Points: 8.3 / 10
NOTHING BUT THE BEST (2004)
Review by Chris Lambert - Rock Report // Frédéric Slama is a French songwriter who has lived in L.A for over a decade. That and the fact that he has worked as a music journalist has resulted in a wide circle of friends in the world of AOR and westcoast. After having produced some French and US artists, he thought the time was ripe for the foundation of AOR, which is a sort of one man studio project centered around his talents as songwriter, performer (guitars and keyboards) and producer. Although “L.A Concession” (2000) and “Next Stop: L.A” (2001) were both self-financed, they already made quite some impression on both the press and the fans of the westcoast/AOR genre. Things however gained momentum with the release of “L.A Reflection” (2002) and “Dreaming Of L.A”, both featuring an impressive list of guest musicians. No wonder both albums were picked up by Cool Sound in Japan and the last one by AOR Heaven in Europe. Now AOR or Frédéric Slama is back with “Nothing But The Best”, which is a compilation of the most memorable songs of his 4 albums, plus three new and impressive unreleased tracks, which open this sampler in great style. Opener “Desperate Dreams” is sung by Fergie Frederiksen, the other two new ones are performed by Dane Donohue, while Tommy Denander took care of most instruments. Quite impressive stuff, but the same can be said about the following 12 tracks, that give us a nice overview of what this talented Frenchman is capable of.No less than 40 (forty!) artists assisted on one or more tracks and it’s like a wet dream for every fan of westcoast/AOR. The album is dedicated to the memories of Greg Guidry, Carlos Vega and Jeff Porcaro, who have all left us far too early. If you haven’t got any AOR (Frédéric Slama) albums in your collection, you should consider purchasing this brilliant compilation, which deserves nothing else than full marks. And if the next studio album promises to be as good as the opening tracks on this compilation, we’re surely in for a treat.Ratings:6/6
Review by Chris - Metal Observer // ‘’Nothing But The Best’’ is a collective round up of French-US West Coast based singer/ writer/ producer Frédéric Slama’s band AOR. Those familiar with Slama’s mercurial talents for producing and performing some of the finest west coast AOR will already be aware of this man’s drive for AOR perfection and attention to detail. Dripping with high end quality smooth AOR this is simply stunning. From punchy anthems like ‘’Leave Her To Heaven’’ to casual, laconic workouts such as ‘’On Dangerous Ground’’ ‘’Nothing But The Best’’ is a culmination of Slama’s four previous AOR albums – ‘’LA Concession" (2000), ‘’Next Stop L.A (2001)’’, ‘’L.A Reflection (2002)’’ and the excellent 2003 offering ‘’Dreaming Of L.A’’.Having studied his art in his native France and the uncanny ability to rope in some very fine musicians – Steve Lukather and Steve Overland to name but two – has brought riches beyond compare for Slama. Each song is wonderfully crafted wedges of polished AOR Rock music. The ever increasing band of skilled musicians only lends weight and credence to an exemplary body of music and to be able to release a best of album after only four years supports the respect and popularity of this French man living abroad. Casual listeners to AOR and devotees will only seek thorough enjoyment from this album. Rating:9/10
Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem - Strutterzine // The AOR project of French guitarist Frédéric Slama started in 2000 and so far 4 CDs have been released. Now there’s a best of release available, which is a collection of the best songs from the 4 albums, with the addition of 3 new unreleased tracks. Musically it’s a mixture of pure 1980s AOR and Westcoast, somewhere between TOTO, SURVIVOR and CHICAGO. The list of guest musicians is unbelievable, because the whole LA Session Musicians scene made an appearance on the AOR albums, including the complete TOTO line-up (Steve Lukather, David Paich, Mike Porcaro, Steve Porcaro and the late Jeff Porcaro), BRUCE GAITSCH, TOMMY DENANDER, GÖRAN EDMAN, MICHAEL LANDAU, RICHARD PAGE, BILL CHAMPLIN, MICHAEL THOMPSON, DAVID ROBERTS, STEVE OVERLAND etc. etc. Without a doubt, a very impressive list of musicians and singers, and although the regular AOR CDs were a mix of AOR and Westcoast material, this best of has the balance of going into a pure AOR direction most of the time, which is a good thing of course. There’s a lot of excellent AOR material on this album, but let’s start with the 3 new songs, which are “Desperate dreams” (Lead vocals by Fergie Frederiksen, high class 80s AOR rocker like SURVIVOR meets a rockin’ TOTO), “In my crystal ball” (nice westcoast AOR, early 80s style, a la GREG GUIDRY) and the lovely AOR ballad “Only in my dreams”. The remaining 12 songs are taken from the 4 AOR CDs, with as highlights such as fantastic AOR songs like “Leave her to heaven”, “You’re my obsession”, “Love has found it’s way”, “Sensation” and “A quiet storm”, although there are also a few Westcoast/Popish songs. However, the main style here is AOR and so the bandname is indeed true, and without a doubt this is a highly recommended AOR CD, especially if you haven’t been able to buy any of the AOR CDs so far. This album is made by professional musicians and is by far a very high quality record, so check it out if you’re into AOR music! Rating:8,5/10
Review by Kimmo Toivonen - Aor Europe // Frédéric Slama has released 4 albums under the name of "AOR", all of them featuring internationally known AOR/Westcoast musicians. This album is a "Best of" compilation with a few new songs, and the line-up on these songs is virtually a "who's who" of AOR/westcoast music...Steve Lukather, David Roberts, Tommy Denander, Bill Champlin. I wasn't expecting much, since the only other "AOR" album I had heard, last years' "Dreaming Of L.A.", had been a way too west-coast-like and soft for my taste. Sure enough, this album isn't a hard rocking one either, but it does feature a bunch of really fine songs, and some of them do "rawk"! The new songs (or at least "previously unreleased") represent the extremes of Slama's style: "Desperate Dreams" is excellent classic melodic rock, while "In My Crystal Ball" is more west-coast styled, jazzy track. The third track "Only In My Dreams" is a balladic, AOR-styled song, somewhere between the two extremes. I would prefer if Slama concentrated on the first mentioned side of his writing, but that's just my opinion (coloured by my eternal jazz-allergy). Out of the older songs, I have to name a few: the two tracks sung by Göran Edman, "Leave Her To Heaven" (the vocals are oddly mixed though) and "Sensation", Steve Overland-sung "You're My Obsession", Chris Demming-sung "A Quiet Storm" ...that's what AOR is all about. As I mentioned, the jazzy westcoast styled doesn't really work for me, so there are admittedly a few songs that I'd rather skip, but thankfully there aren't too many of those numbers.Rating:8/10
Review by Kenneth Bremer - Blue Desert // One of the most active european musicians in the west coast world is without a doubt Frédéric Slama. He has released 4 albums under the name "AOR" and all albums have an impressive lineup of musicians that all has a big part of the west coast music world, and he has brought some of the "great heroes" back again, such as Dane Donohue, David Roberts and has been working with both american- and european producers to get close to the "real" west coast sound.Now Cool Sound in Japan is releasing the album "Nothing But The Best", a best of collection with 12 songs from the 4 previous albums, all remastered by Tommy Denander and also 3 new unreleased songs are added to the album. "Nothing But The Best" features the talent of 40 of the biggest stars in the west coast/AOR music scene, and just to name a few you can hear: Fergie Frederiksen , Steve Overland , Goran Edman, Bill Champlin, David Roberts, Dane Donohue, Michael Ruff, Rick Riso, Tommy Denander, Steve Lukather, Michael Landau, Bruce Gaitsch, Michael Thompson, James Harrah, David Williams, David Diggs, Brandon Fields, Dave Boruff, Tom Saviano, Hussain Jiffry, Vinnie Colaiuta, Ed Greene, Carlos Vega, Joey Heredia, Richard Page, Steve George on the album.
DREAMING OF L.A (2003)
Review by Chris Lambert - Rock Report // Here, AOR doesn’t refer to our beloved style of rock (adult orientated rock), but to Frenchman Frédéric Slama’s studio project, which started in 2000 with the album “L.A Concession”. Although this and his second album “Next Stop L.A” (2001) were self-financed affairs, the sound and the songs were great and gradually his name became more and more known among the lovers of so-called westcoast music. No wonder the Japanese Cool Sound label picked him up for the release of his 3rd album, called “L.A Reflection” (2002), on which a lot of well-known westcoast musicians guested. “Dreaming Of L.A” (as always referring to L.A., the centre of westcoast) is Slama’s fourth album in four years, but it’s the first he doesn’t have to release in Europe at his own expense, because he now has got a deal with AOR Heaven. Already released in Japan by Cool Sound on August 10, “Dreaming Of L.A” will be released by Georg Siegl’s label at the end of September, including no less than 4 bonus tracks: “Last Days In San Francisco” plus new versions of three older songs (the tracks 10-12). Excellently produced by Tommy Denander and David Diggs, this is an album that may not be missed by all fans of the westcoast genre. As a whole the album sounds very relaxed and it’s great to see so many great musicians involved again. The list is way too long to publish, but let me whet your appetite by mentioning only Steve Lukather (g), Michael Landau (g), Bill Champlin (v), Steve Overland (v), the long lost David Roberts (v), Vinnie Colaiuta (d), Brandon Fields (s) and Göran Edman (bv). Without a doubt Slama’s most complete/impressive album to this date!
Review by Endre Hubnet - Aor Europe // There's a project with such a name out there and it's already the fourth release, yet I only heard the 2001 effort "Next Stop L.A.". Yeah, I know, a crying shame! However since the previous releases were all indies, they are really hard to come by. This time it's AORHeaven backing it up, so let's hope it will reach a wider audience than before. The music and the names behind guarantee consumer satisfaction, so why not? AOR is French songwriter/producer/ex-(?)journalist Frédéric Slama's project spiced up with guest vocalists and musicians. If I mention some of the contributors you'll all have an idea what the music is like: Steve Lukather, Bill Champlin, Steve Overland, Tommy Denander. Yeah, you are right: Toto meets Chicago, soft AOR with stunning musicianship, thick arrangements, balanced mix, and good front- and thick backing vocals. AOR at its best or should I call it HOSR (Housewife Orientated Soft Rock)? Well, you name it! Just don't expect roaring guitars and uptempo crashing. But who'd expect something like that when buying an album like this? Being a big Chicago fan my favorite tracks are the ones featuring Bill Champlin, "Lost in Your Eyes" is a pure gem, a midtempo soulful number that could easily find its way to any 80s or early 90s Chicago release. The same goes for the other Champlin track "Teach Me How to Love You Again" [cool sax work!]. However the majority of the songs are more in the vein of Toto in the 80s. No wonder since this time it was Tommy Denander taking duties of the production; not that the album would sound any different from the above mentioned bands or from the 2001 release… which is a good thing I guess cuz the production is as good as it can only get in this genre. Why an 8 then and not a perfect 10? Well, while Champlin, Steve Overland and David Chamberlin all deliver the stunning vocal performance we are used to from them, some of the lesser-known names fail to impress me. Maybe they just pale in comparison with the big guys but anyway towards the end of the album some weaker tracks (or rather some weaker vocal performances) sneaked in. Yet the album is definitely recommended to fans of the genre and the above mentioned bands, since you get what you are promised here, no experimenting, nothing new under the sun, just plain old good music for everyday use.
Review by Chris - Metal Observer // AOR is the brainchild of Frédéric Slama, a French AOR devotee who has gone that bit further and actually put a one-man band together to produce a number of pure AOR albums that are populated by some of the most famous names in the Melodic Rock genre. So when I tell you nearly all of TOTO including Steve Lukather where guest players on his third album "LA Reflections" and once again Lukather plus Bill Champlin (CHICAGO) and Steve Overland (FM) guest on "Dreaming Of LA" then Slama must carry a certain amount of weight and respect in AOR circles. The music is very like TOTO. Soft gentle ballads wrapped up in sweeping melodies and warm guitar solos that give way to jazzy soft Rock which isn't going to raise the temperature above normal but will be a pure delight for AOR fans. No less than nine singers handle vocals on this! And all are immaculate in delivery with David Chamberlain and Bill Champlin standing out in particular. The musicianship is first class all round, as is the production, which is crisp and light. Slama has conceived AOR to be a studio band so he can indulge freely in his life's passion and when a fan can produce results as good, if not better, than the big guns question have to be asked why he doesn't do it full time. If you can, find time to chill out to AOR'S relaxing sounds.
Ratings on the web for " Dreaming Of L.A "// 5/5 on rockangels.com // 10/10 on Blue Desert // 9/10 on Rock It Magazine (O6/2003) // 4/5 on Adult Contemporary Music in japan. (ACM) // 85% on Melodic Rock.com // 93% in Aor Heaven october 2003 catalog // 5/6 on Rockreport.be // 90/100 on hmportal.it // 87/100 on crossrocks.com // n° 8 in the Rock it charts (06/2003) // 8/10 on the Swedish Westcoast Music Site // 8,5/10 on melodicjourney.com // 80/100 on aorwebsite.i t// 8/10 on aor-europe.com // 7,5/10 on disintegration.it // 7/10 on rock hard germany // * "A superb album " from Rock Time * "A classic" on gaestliste.de * "Great album " on bright-eyes.de * "Superb mix of Westcoast & Aor " on powermetal.de * "Great cd " on ragazzi-music.de
L.A REFLECTION (2002)
Review by Ed Kruijskamp - Rock Report // Frédéric Slama's new album is his best effort up to this date. All of his releases are done by himself without the help of a major record company. The progression continues, because "L.A Reflection" is a great westcoast/AOR album with help from some of the best AOR musicians from the past & present. What to think of Tommy Denander, Göran Edman, Michael Ruff, Rick Riso, Steve Lukather, Michael Landau, Bruce Gaitsch, Michael Thompson, Steve Porcaro, David Paich and Mike Baird, who are only some of the big names on the extensive list of musicians. There are 14 tracks on the album, with some remakes of earlier released tracks, all top-notch produced and performed with the highest class. It's just great to hear a real back to basis AOR album mixed with some sensational westcoast songs. A great X-Mas present! Love it! Rating:5/6
Review by Andrew Mcneice - Melodic Rock // L.A Reflection is album number 3 for Frédéric Slama under his AOR moniker. And without a single doubt this is his finest release. I haven't been convinced by the other two, with production lacking a little, but am very much impressed by this album. Flooded with special guests from the world of Westcoast and AOR (Lukather, Baird, Gaitsch, Thompson, Paich, Denander, Porcaro) this album is a smooth as anything else out there and better produced than most. This album is better written and performed and far better produced than the first two albums and comes highly recommended to any fans of smooth Westcoast, AOR and the likes of the guests involved. Rating: 90/100
Review by Gabor Kleinbloesem - Strutterzine // The AOR Project by the French guitarist/keyboardplayer Frédéric Slama has a new CD out. It's titled 'L.A. Reflection' and is the 3rd CD of AOR. Again Frederic has a stunning list of guest musicians helping him out on his CD. None other than guitarists Michael Landau, Tommy Denander and Bruce Gaitsch, lead singers like Goran Edman, Michael Ruff and David Chamberlin and the whole TOTO band make an appearance on this CD. So, it's all quality what we get to hear and this new CD of AOR has a definite more AOR (!) approach than the Westcoast orientated processors. There are 14 tracks included (of which 2 bonustracks) and 4 of them are pure AOR. These are also the best songs of the CD. I am talking about "Sensation" (great 80s AOR a la I-TEN), "A quiet storm" (very strong big AOR rocker), "Leave her to heaven" (fantastic big uptempo AOR) and "The moon is a liar" (great AOR rocker). This is really AOR all the way and if the whole CD would sound like this, then we could speak of one of the top AOR records! Although the rest of the CD is poppier, I can still say that this is an essential release. Besides the mentioned 4 fantastic tracks, other good songs are the calmer AOR songs "If no one cared" (like FRANKE AND THE KNOCKOUTS), "So young and innocent" (a la JOHN ELEFANTE), "Dream them away" (like DAVID ROBERTS meets TOTO), "Far away from the storm" and the very soft JOURNEY/STEVE PERRYish AOR/Pop ballads "How will she find her way back?" and "I know you too well". Furthermore there's an old recorded song called "5492" with the late great Jeff Porcaro on drums, 2 versions of the 70s orientated Soul/Poptune "Never gonna let her go" and the Popsong "Worlds away". It's not always a pure AOR record, but there are some really wonderful pure AOR tunes on this CD, so the fans of the genre know what to purchase when seeing this CD in their local record store.Rating: 8/10
Review by Takeshi Ito - Adult Contemporary Music In Japan Website // Frédéric Slama has just released his project AOR's 3rd album early November. As you wish, this album also features some guest L.A players and 3 songs (+ another for bonus tracks) are produced by Tommy Denander. The new cd is called " L.A REFLECTION" which follows his 2nd album "Next Stop L.A". Frederic added that the sound would be similar to Toto's "Fahrenheit" / "Seventh One" and otherwise "Radioactive".
Review by Kenneth Bremer - Blue Desert // A very interesting West Coast music project .... What will you do if you should make the perfect west coast music collection? You will take the best from the 70´s, the best from the 80´s and of course the best songs from the 90´s and combine all this with the greatest musicians and top vocalists. Then you will have the perfect combination for a great west coast album. Actually this is what the french musician Frédéric Slama has done. His new album "L.A. Reflection" is a combination of the great sound from late 70´s to early 90´s, and he has gathered a lot of west coast musicians to put their personals touch into his songs. The lineup is impressive and you can hear these musicians on the album: Steve lukather (guitars), Jeff Porcaro (drums), Steve Porcaro (keyboards), Michael Porcaro (bass), David Paich (keyboards), Goran Edman (vocals), Michael Landau (guitars), Tommy Denander (all instruments), David Diggs (keyboards), Rick Riso (vocals), Michael Ruff (vocals), Bruce Gaitsch (guitars), Michael Thompson (guitars), James Harrah (guitars), Ed Greene (drums), Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Tom Saviano (sax), Dave Boruff (sax), Mike Baird (drums), Rachel Diggs (vocals), Chris Demming (vocals), Kristoffer Lagerstrom (vocals), Eddie Watkins Jr (bass), Hussain Jiffry (bass), David Chamberlin (vocals), Tom Bailey (vocals) & Andre Harold (guitars). The album "L.A. Reflection" is produced by David Diggs, David Chamberlin, Tommy Denander and Frederic Slama himself. All producers are giving the album their own touch, so this are giving the songs a different feeling and that´s why the album are having both 70´s, 80´s & 90´s westcoast sound, and actually giving the album a perfect match to all the great musicians that are playin´ on the album. 14 songs has made the album, all new songs except for the re-release of the earlier Tommy Denander recorded song "5492", that has been re-recorded with Steve Lukather, David Paich, Steve Porcaro, Mike Porcaro and the original drum track by Jeff Porcaro. No doubt that it has been hardwork for Frédéric Slama to make this album, just to get all the musicians to into the studios, to get the songs recorded and mixed. The "L.A. Reflection" is a brilliant album, and this should not be compared with the 2 earlier releases from Frederic Slama. The new album can be a westcoast masterpiece if you look at the album in total. The work behind it is also a statement that west coast music is not dead, but it still takes a guy like "Frédéric Slama" to get the wheels running, most of the big record labels don´t release stuff like this, an that is a shame. So a big thanks to all the musicians that have played on this album, and I look forward to the next one coming.
NEXT STOP : L.A (2001)
Review by Nicky Baldrian - Strutterzine // As a rule I play an album 3-4 times before I put pen to paper, but I only played "Next Stop LA" once and I came to the conclusion that album number two from Frédéric Slama's mega AOR project is totally bigger and better than last years successful debut "LA Concession". "Next Stop LA" is one of those albums that is difficult to put into words, the songs are superbly produced west coast AOR numbers which also showcase the respectable talents of Mr.Mister's Richard Page, and Michael Thompson amongst other participants. The songs hit you in warm tidal wave of TOTO, Journey, Prisoner, King Of Hearts, Bad English, Foreigner, Talk Of The Town and Richard Marx influences such as the fantastic 'Desperate Dreams', Leave Her To Heaven', 'Can One Of Your Kiss Do All This' and the equally superb 'The Way You Love Me' which could have been on either the new Journey album, Tall Stories or the classic Diving For Pearls album. Just listen to those wonderful soothing vocal harmonies..killer pure west coast AOR.. I really loved 'Teach Me How To Love You Again', this song is a slick west coast ballad a'la Richard Marx, whilst 'It's Just To Easy' is a very catchy power pop number with sax, similar in vein to Robert Tepper. 'Can One Of Your Kiss Do All This' is even better and a song that Mark Spiro wished he's written, this track is very similar to Bad English with hints of Tommy Shaw and John Waite and is a huge song, great production sound, great guitars, chorus, vocals etc, perfect AOR song and like 'Desperate Dreams' is one of the best songs on the album and of the year in AOR. The killer ballad 'On A Distant Path' is a wonderful soft song with lyrics inspired by King Arthur and the Knights Of The Round Table, the lyrics are very strong on this song with a similar vibe to Richard Marx's "Hazard" and the first Mark Spiro CD "Care Of My Soul". Also leaning in the Richard Marx territory is the fantastic 'The Only Thing I Ask' which is another massive song, killer chorus, hooks, lyrics etc, could be a hit this one as could 'Leave Her To Heaven' which was on the debut CD and still remains a classy song. Please, please don't let songs of this calibre go unnoticed as each song like the debut album is just fantastic, check out the last song which is the ultimate AOR weepy ballad called 'Never Gonna Let Her Go' which is similar to TOTO and Foreigner's "Waiting For A Girl Like You". This song was actually on the debut CD and I'm glad they have included it on this album as it ends the album perfectly. This is indeed the best west coast AOR album of the year, the production and the songs are so massive, so buy this CD now and demand that the labels sign this band. ESSENTIAL RELEASE, AOR album of 2001, big big news folks!! Rating: ESSENTIAL
L.A CONCESSION (2000)
Review by Nicky Baldrian - Strutterzine // This is really a high quality release and I can't understand why none of the AOR labels has picked it up to give it a major release. Pretty cool to call your project AOR, because that name has never been used until now. Still I have to inform you that the CD isn't pure AOR all the way, let's say it contains a lot of AOR elements. Leader of AOR is guitarist/keyboardplayer Frédéric Slama who comes out of France. He recorded this CD in L.A. with a lot of famous session musicians like Gregg Bissonette, Lenny Castro, Steve George, Richard Page, Carlos Vega and Michael Thompson. One of the main players though is a guy called Peter Hume who is playing keyboards, guitars, bass and drums on all songs (pretty impressive). John Fluker, Doug St. John and David D. Chamberlin do the lead vocals on the 12 included songs. I have to admit that the production and quality of the songs is from a very high level and this could've easily been a big hit back in the mid 80s when a lot of artists/bands produced this type of westcoast-AOR. I hear comparisons to TOTO, DAKOTA, AIRPLAY, DAVID ROBERTS and some more recent influences (ALIAS, BRETT WALKER, MARK FREE). The general sound is not really heavy and is focused on relaxing light AOR influenced Westcoast songs with some beautiful vocals and keyboard parts. Happily there are also some uptempo AOR rockers to be found on the record which makes it also interesting for the fan of pure AOR. The CD starts very soft with the early 80s westcoast AOR ballad "Never gonna let her go" that easily could've been on any album of TOTO, DAVID ROBERTS or AIRPLAY. Also pretty soft is the next track called "On dangerous ground", this song is just pure I-TEN ("Lonely in each other's arms"). Next up are two very good AOR songs ("Caught inside your heart" and "Worlds away"). The latter is a lovely AOR ballad in the style of ALIAS and MARK FREE ('Long way from love' area). Things get calmer on the following two songs ("In my crystal ball" and "The way of the night"), though we're still in AOR territory (think RICHARD MARX). Then we're down to pure AOR with the only uptempo song which is the fantastic classy 80s AOR rocker "Leave her to heaven". This is really an awesome song and reminds me a lot of DAKOTA and SYNCH with the perfect harmonies and soaring vocals. Finally a rocker and I hope there aresome more rockers like this on a future record of AOR. Next track "Only in my dreams" is another great AOR song, this song features some lovely AOR keys and ends up being a great AOR ballad in the ALIAS style. So we just had the two best songs of the CD, because the following tracks are again a bit poppier. "From L.A. to Tokyo is actually pure Pop, but I have to admit that this is high quality Pop because it's damn catchy and radio-ready. If radiostations would pick this up, then in a few weeks it could turn out to something huge, but I would rather see an AOR song making it to the airwaves. Anyway, the CD continues with the relaxing AOR song "Lost in your eyes". "Don't let her go" is the second rocker, only lighter, still good quality AOR a la 70s DAKOTA/JERRY KELLY. The CD closes nicely with the AOR ballad "Love has found it's way". Although AOR isn't pure AOR, still this is a high quality release that needs to be heard by every AOR fan. It is a total must for people who like Westcoast AOR a la DAVID ROBERTS, AIRPLAY, LA COWBOYS, TOTO, PROMOTION, HIGHER GROUND, DAKOTA etc. Rating: 8,5/10