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Alvin Clayton Pope — The Good Life

Apr. 26, 2016

Pianist/keyboardist Alvin Pope (aka Alvin Clayton Pope) has a clear, cool approach on his beautifully arranged latest release, The Good Life, Alvin Popean album with very deep-reaching charm, melody, and rhythm. His light and airy touch on the ivories speaks the universal language of love and beauty in a most competent fashion. You can almost hear his piano singing to you and to you only.

He is joined here by producer/guitarist Nils (who seems to be everywhere at once these days), saxophonists Jessy J and Jeff Kashiwa, and the late great drummer Ricky Lawson. What they all add to this both romantic and spirited album simply can’t be overstated.

The Good Life covers all moods from sheer romance to soulful dance grooves to the exoticism and heat of Latin and reggae rhythms. Amid several originals, Pope offers two covers. His interpretation of “Amazing Grace” is simply not to be missed, and he conjures up that reminiscent Donny Hathaway magic with his version “Valdez in the Country” — both solid and undeniably rich.

From the funky and steady lead track “Body Heat” punctuated with a good touch of sass and that trademark Kashiwa attitude on sax to the reggae shine of the last track “Island Girl,” Pope displays a keen awareness of the musical senses of jazzers everywhere who enjoy an abundance of eclecticism. Lend this one your ears and bask in the glow of music done right. – Ronald Jackson