WELCOME TO THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE! * WELCOME TO THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE! * WELCOME TO THE SMOOTH JAZZ RIDE!

Chris Godber — Momentum

Jan. 13, 2018

Saxophonist Chris Godber is not only an accomplished and insightful artist, but his is a most intriguing and compelling story. You see, the saxman has had to battle the respiratory culprit asthma and was once told by doctors that he’d never play sax due to the severity of his illness. Being one of those admirable artists who believe more in themselves than in a diagnosis, Godber defied the prognosis and, to his credit, has been playing and captivating audiences now for over two decades. Oh, and not only is he a solid saxman; he doubles as a Respiratory Therapist and often entertains his patients with his sax prowess. Talk about drive and determination.

His 5th and latest release Momentum features guest artists keyboardist/pianist/producer Bob Baldwin and guitarist Adam Hawley, both of whom bring a certain swag to the album.

Speaking of the album, it’s loaded with well-massaged melody – always a biggie with me – solid hooks, and makes a concerted effort to run in its own lane instead of following the standard blueprint of so many other smooth jazz artists and material. Yes, there are elements of the standard approach on a couple of tracks (hard to steer completely clear of that), but if you’re listening, you’ll hear the heart and soul and distinctive quality of this music.

Leading off with a fairly familiar groove in the title track on tenor sax, Godber ventures on to set his own bar high enough to garner much respect with tracks like the melodious mid-tempo soprano sax-laden “Upward & Onward,” the snappy, feel-good “Living Water” featuring Baldwin’s keys and piano, the sweet & silky romance-laced “Escuchame” (that would be “Listen to Me” in English). That’s followed by “Butterfly,” yet another soulful stroll along whatever delicate getaway that may exist in your mind by now.

The up-tempo “Sizzle” featuring Hawley’s guitar sends this track climbing toward the heavens with a confident attitude and groove.

There are many other goodies here to make your listening experience a real treat. Godber’s grasp on what works is real and effective. You can’t go wrong with artists sporting this kind of vision. Two thumbs up! – Ronald Jackson