THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE

A Slight Detour

Yes, "The Ride" does occasionally make unexpected stops or turns on the route through smooth jazz.  Every now and again, a style or genre (new age, fusion, Latin, world, etc.) will catch the ears of our staff, and we'll feel the need to share that vibe with you.  Enjoy!

Feb. 10, 2010

When I reviewed the debut release, Infinita, by world/jazz guitarist Lawson Rollins in 2008, I strongly suspected that we would hear more of the diverse cultural mix from the exotic melodies that he coaxed from the strings of his guitar.  I’d like to take a moment here to gloat about my being quite correct. Here, with Espirito, the guitarist, along with some mighty help again from Shahin Shahida, the well-respected world/jazz guitarist and one-half of the world/jazz duo, Shahin & Sepehr, sets the World stage afire again with hot licks and sexy Latin/world melodies tailor-made for the romantic and the culturally curious, as well.

Many of the notable contributors here also offered their respective skills to Infinita, including renowned vocalist Flora Purim, who now offers her charm to “Moonlight Samba,” “Return to Rio,” and the title track (all three tracks favor the Brazilian/Latin  influence, and it all fits and works so well here).  There’s also keyboardist/pianist/producer Dominic Carmardella, who’s worked with the iconic guitarist Ottmar Liebert and the acid jazz group 3rd Force.  These contributors and others make their presence very much felt throughout this fine production.  Read full review


Jan. 28, 2010

Klay D-C -- Ritmo

Now, there is music for those who just want to feel the groove and react. Then, there is music that beckons you to listen with all you’ve got while you groove because there are things going on here.  If it were a road sign, it might read: Creativity in the Making or Artist at Work.  That would be the music you need to follow, and it’s music that won’t lead you astray, as proven here by the very talented pianist,  Klay D-C (aka Klay Dumas-Copas), and his latest release, Ritmo (Spanish and Italian for ‘rhythm,” and you’ll soon find out why that title).

Fans of vibist Roy Ayers' Ubiquity may remember Klay's membership in that group from 1999 - 2004.  Also, in 1998, his band, The Jazz Steppers, won the MOBO (Music of Black Origin) Best Jazz Act award.  Read full review


Jan. 4, 2010

Gary Carpenter -- Tierra Madre

It’s not always easy to find a really good balance between world music and the serious Latin charm of, say, rumba. Gary Carpenter indirectly boasts that he has struck that balance, and he certainly sounds here like he has a point.  On Tierra Madre, his sophomore release, he and his band, Tribal Heat, draw on everything they have to present a complete package of cool and sexy blends of some interesting world music undertakings and the all-so-consuming drive of Latin rhythms and melodies.

I have to admit to a certain bias for Latin music. Oh, when it’s badly played, it forces me to turn a deaf ear to it, but when it’s on, I mean really “on,” I can lose myself in its mystique, its passion, its fire, and its sensuality with the first stroke of that romantic guitar. Only a really decent artist can summon that in me. Carpenter seems to fit the bill.  Read full review



Nov. 6, 2009

Johannes Linstead -- Mistico

As if Johannes Linstead fans didn’t already know it would happen again, the Canadian guitarist is once more igniting passion, desire, and dreams through his exotic and fiery handling of the Spanish guitar.  His latest release, Mistico, explores the many nuances of that fine, seductive instrument from the traditional to the contemporary, from the sultry to the furious - a culmination of all his years as a quality guitarist. Known equally for his beautiful melodies and for his lightning-fast guitar work, this multi-award winning composer joins with musicians from around the world, including Spain, Cuba, Greece, Iran, and Venezuela, to make this album a rare gem among the Latin guitar genre. Since its release in September, Mistico has already reached the #1 position on eMusic.com's World Music and Jazz/Blues charts. Again, as if Lindstead fans could expect any less.  Read full review
 


Nov. 5, 2009


Kyle Eastwood -- Metropolitain


Here’s a slice of hot and cool fusion jazz you’ve gotta thoroughly enjoy, even if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool smooth jazzer.  Kyle Eastwood, actor Clint Eastwood’s bass-wielding son, should have you fully engaged and acknowledging the quality, poise, and eloquence of his compositions here on Metropolitain by record’s end.  Maybe it was the melodies; maybe it was the sheer power.  Whatever it was, this album caught and held me fast.  Clearly an artist with magnificent and laudable skills on bass, complete with stylish chords and harmonics, Eastwood’s writing is as superb.  Ordinarily, I focus my reviews on the world of smooth jazz, but this one drove me to such a state of sheer appreciation that I felt I would be totally remiss—not to mention grossly unfair-- to ignore the tightness, the clarity, and the boldness of the splendid piece of fusion going on here.  Read full review


Sept. 25, 2009

Jesse Cook -- The Rumba Foundation

Always intriguing, always with the exotic, tender stroke of the string, the music of World/Flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook is as intoxicating as the aromas and zest of the lands he presents in song.  His ability to intertwine jazz and flamenco influences is as alluring as his imagination.  So, it comes as no surprise that his latest effort, The Rumba Foundation, scheduled for release on Sept. 29, is an alluring, enticing project with nowhere to go but to your heartstrings.
 
For this latest recording, Cook wanted to trace rumba flamenco back to its roots in Cuba, but his instincts got the better of him, and he wound up spending time in Bogota, Colombia, where this whole album swirls and takes shape, as will probably be evident to all upon listening.  Read full review

 

 

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