THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE
De' Nate'--Reminisce 

I’ve listened to and reviewed a wide spectrum of pretty impressive artists and releases over the past few years, and I always marvel at the new and exceptional finds. Here is yet another. This is a truly atypical, exceptional, and superior collaboration with such a special inner touch and reach that it almost defies adequate description. 

De’Nate’ is the magnificent brainchild of producer/artist Nate Harasim and standout vocalist Deborah Connors, at the recommendation of nuGroove Records president, David Chackler, who saw “something” potentially explosive in such a union. Boy, was he ever right!

Harasim just released what should be a smash for him in Love’s Taken Over, and  Connors has been an effective composer and sinfully talented songstress who’s worked with the likes of R Kelly and George Harrison, among others. Her skills at lead and backing vocals (shown here in full light) and the production prowess of Harasim have produced Reminisce, so complete a project embracing presence, depth, beauty, and melody (oh, the melodies). Carefully and sweetly interweaving R&B and smooth grooves, at times reminding one of Hardcastle, at times reminding one of Sade, but always reminding one of just why smooth jazz is so full, multi-faceted, and irresistibly appealing. Each tune here stands on its own yet is linked by perfection to the next, as they all form a complete and magical chain of superb sound.

Cuts like the opening and title track (which quickly and easily sets such a solid, rich, and fluid pace for the other tracks), most impressive and moving covers of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams”  and the classic “Secret Garden,” as well as originals like “Miss’n You” and “Still Be Strong” are all filled to the brim with hot, sensual, meticulously-phrased sound and harmonies that were obviously felt by Connors in every note that escapes her lips. Nate Harasim’s single-handed handling of most of the accompaniment, courtesy of some sterling synth work, is definitely major league and further enhanced by the brilliant bass lines laid down by bassist Mel Brown. Adding more “phat” are sensational saxophonist Darren Rahn and suave trumpeter Gordon James on select tracks.  

You would think that Harasim would be perhaps a bit spent for awhile after his Love’s Taken Over effort. Upon hearing this project, you’d have to think again. From a long-term vantage point, I’d venture to say that, with nightingale Connors by his side, the fun is just beginning. --  Ronald Jackson

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