THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE


Vann Burchfield--Blue Eyed Soul

Blue Eyed Soul is the debut release (well, sort of) from saxophonist Vann Burchfield. This is one of the most well-rounded, soulful, suave, and confident albums I’ve heard in a while, and it comes from one who claims this as his debut smooth jazz release.  While he did release an album entitled Par for the Course in 2007, he was told that it wasn’t really smooth jazz. Well, I beg to differ.  A milder, more subdued version than this current effort, perhaps, but smooth jazz nonetheless. Be that as it may, this current album is not just smooth in its delivery; it’s smart, and it’s comfortable.  Like an old plush recliner, it fits

Despite being new on the smooth jazz scene, you’ve heard of this artist, right? He’s the guy who beat Kenny G’s world record for holding the longest note on a wind instrument (47 minutes, 6 seconds!) in 2000.  Can you say “Whew?”

This album actually will need little introduction once Burchfield fires off the first few notes of his opening track “Let’s Get Started,” which he does in grand fashion, by the way. He follows that with a funky up-tempo cut (love the bass line) called “You Can Do It.” If it’s supposed to serve as an energetic motivator for anyone doing anything, let alone music, it should easily get the job done.
 
This is a CD full of newness and flair. Burchfield, wherever he received his inspiration, tears into the fabric of smooth jazz with the familiarity of one who was clearly raised on this stuff.  Cool, mellow, and sultry vibes meet funky, up-tempo rhythm-heavy bravado throughout this fine project, as demonstrated in “When I’m With You,” the Latin-tinged “In My Soul,” and “Get It Got It Good.”  Three clear examples of different grooves with the same bottom line. 

There’s really little to dislike about this freshman effort with the senior feel. Everything has texture, flavor, and a certain magnetism.  I have quite a few favs here, including the aforementioned “You Can Do It” and “In My Soul,” as well as two soul-wrenching beauties called “All For Love” and “With All My Heart” which are so very rich in tone and melody.

I’ve often written about the satisfaction of discovering new music and new artists who’ve flown below my radar. In my opinion, this is yet another satisfying outing for an artist that, with the proper spotlight, should remain in the immediate sights of smooth jazz for quite awhile-- as long as he doesn’t forsake what brought him to this point: A good sense of what works and what he can feel and awaken in others with his music.  Give Vann Burchfield and Blue Eyed Soul a chance to woo you.  There's a very good chance they will. --  Ronald Jackson


Sorry, there are no Amazon MP3 clips available at this time for Vann Burchfield.  However, his latest CD can be previewed at his website, www.vannburchfield.com/store.html.