Who is Kaveh Rastegar? It depends on whom you ask. The general public might know him best as the bassist for John Legend, or as the musical director for Sia or producer and songwriter with artists like Bruno Mars, Sabrina Claudio, Ciara, De La Soul and Meshell Ndegeocello. Jazz heads know him as the low-end anchor for the Grammy-nominated group Kneebody. Yet everyone who has continued to follow Kaveh are now starting to know him as a singer-songwriter with the release of Haunted This Way, a follow-up to his debut solo album, Light of Love. This new album confirms Kaveh’s success in converting his multi-faceted abilities and his deep reservoir of musical experience into new, rock-based creative music made compelling though disciplined thematic and lyrical focus, decorated with kaleidoscopic brilliance by the excellent cast of musicians he summoned from jazz, pop, rock, country, and every other corner of the wide musical tapestry he has traversed.
Even though Haunted This Way is the later release, it was written and recorded before Light of Love, documenting the bassist’s initial serious foray into songwriting. “These songs came about over a long period of time,” says Kaveh. “I had written the music for these songs around the summer of 2011. At this point, all I had was sketches for the songs—chords and melodies.” The songs started to take shape during the initial recording sessions, with drummer Jay Bellerose and guitarist Tim Young. The lyrics came gradually, with help from songwriters Adam Levy and Amy Kuney. “I was really grateful to work with Amy and Adam,” states Kaveh. “They are incredible musicians and songwriters and I love collaborating with them.” Kaveh credits them with helping him to become a better writer. “They helped me,” he continues, “to move out of that ‘one way to write a song mindset,” something he was told to avoid by the rapper Posdnous from De La Soul. Kaveh affirms he has “written with a lot of different artists and would always ask them what their process was,” a process we see coming to fruition in Haunted This Way. (Gary Fukushima)