THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE


Karen Devroop--Reminiscing 

This should have been one of the trivia questions on our Trivia page for you true smooth jazzers: Who is Karen Devroop?  If you don’t know him, allow me to make this introduction to a saxophonist that you will remember for quite some time once you’ve lent your ears to him.  Karen Devroop hails from South Africa, also (as most know) the home of illustrious smooth jazz guitarist Jonathan Butler.  Devroop sank his teeth into smooth jazz so solidly and completely with this debut album, Reminiscing, that he sounds as if he’s been with us in the limelight since the beginning of smooth jazz.

The album is incredibly balanced and tasteful.  The sax is crisp with smooth, defining runs and hooks. The rhythms are addictive and beckoning.  This production is worth sitting up late on any evening to check out.  Full of drive and vigor, Devroop may have arrived unannounced but will surely be welcomed to stay awhile in our smooth jazz living rooms.

Kicking it off with the high and tight up-tempo title track which introduces him in an unimposing and delightful fashion, he then saunters in with a soulful and romantic caress entitled “Two Hearts Apart (THA)” (those hearts, even if composed of solid ice, should melt quite rapidly in this melodic dream).  Then comes the stoking of the fire with “Summer On the Boardwalk,” that quickly transforms that candlelit quiet moment into a dance floor alive with oomph.  The blended horns in the hook, as well as the song’s drive, take this one places where you definitely want to be if you can’t be in that candlelit dining room, family room, bedroom, or whatever seduction room you’ve designed.  That’s followed by a thick, reaching mid-tempo cut, “The Wise Gentleman,” that clearly had to be one of his pets in the studio with the synth work dictating a lot of the mood.  This track is one of my favs here, along with the sexy “Gone Too Soon.”  

I could go on and on about this creatively melodic smooth jazz production that doesn’t make excuses for not being overly funky.  It doesn’t have to be.  It has all the charisma expected of a quality smooth jazz project, and, what it doesn’t strut in terms of funk, it explodes with in terms of warmth and class to make this album an alive, appetizing one with character, ambience, and presence.   Here is an artist who boldly exclaims here that he intends to make an indelible mark on smooth jazz and stick around for its duration.  No arguments here.  Welcome, Karen! -- Ronald Jackson

Sorry, there are no Amazon MP3 clips available at this time for Karen Devroop.  However, his CD can be previewed at CDbaby.com.