Mar, 2, 2017
One of the most respected and talented keyboardist in the smooth jazz genre is Brian Simpson, whose new release Persuasion clearly explains why. With solid self-sustaining grooves of the bouncy and suave varieties, he again produces –along with guitarist/producer Steve Oliver and Oliver Wendell—another smash surely to find its way to the top of the charts in no time.
In addition to his co-producers, the cool keyboardist is joined here by the one and only notorious saxman Boney James, bassist Alex Al, percussionist Ramon Yslas, and other hotshot artists who all converge on this project with the idea of making it . Mission accomplished.
Jumping off with the funky, up-tempo, high-quality lead and title track, Simpson gets the mood for the album in just the right place with the heavy presence of Boney on sax. From there, it’s simply “on,” as he parties into the high-steppin’ “Wonderland,” the phat, bottom-heavy (thanks to Alex Al) mid-tempo ”One and Only” featuring Steve Alaniz on tenor sax (who also does a bang-up great job, by the way), and other grooves.
One of my faves happens to be the slick and funky slower “Need You Now” as Simpson pumps heart and soul into expressing this melodic and tight track. With fingers just tickling the ivories with respect and poise, he easily gets his point across without question.
Drumming up that soulful rhythm and feel of that hot Memphis era of the 60s, ”Supernatural” lays a special layer of feel-good on you, while another of my faves, the effervescent and alluring “Take It Up” takes it up a notch with a layer of funk, soul, and class.
There’s so much here into which you can sink your teeth on this palatable beauty by the keys master. Not a bad track in sight (or earshot). Another jewel by one who’s used to producing and sharing fine jewels every time he steps in and out of the studio. Two thumbs up! – Ronald Jackson