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

Gary Palmer – Coast 2 Coast

Jan. 25, 2018

This sophomore album from saxophonist Gary Palmer entitled Coast 2 Coast is packed with lots of very soulful, jazzy jams, including romantic and sassy grooves for the incurable romantic in you. It all shows the artist’s growth in the genre and the breadth of his network as he features artists like guitarists Kay-Ta Matsuno, Nils, and David P. Stevens as well as keyboardists Bob Baldwin and Tim Watson and vocalist Kevin Foster– each of whom, by the way, not only performs but penned his own contributions here.

A perfect follow-up to his debut release, the album features get-down-in-your-soul bluesy, jazzy, sexy grooves like David P. Stevens’ “One More Time” (one of my faves) – not sure who’s on vocals here, but he pushes that soul element to the max with such intensity and emotion, much like you’d expect from the old Dells recordings. Moving.

The album also has your finger-snappin’ groove accounted for here as Nils’ “Waterfalls” demonstrates. If you’re a lights-down-low R&B slow jam lover, you’ll want to check out Foster’s “I Can’t Get Over You” and Matsuno’s “Misunderstanding.” Tailor-made for “that” moment.

Let’s not omit the party groove as Stevens ushers in the high-kickin’ “To the Top” and “Purple Party” and clears the floor for the dancers dying to get it on.

The treatment and interpretation of iconic bassist Stanley Clarke’s classic “Lisa” is both respectful and competent – not to mention silky sexy. Another of my faves.

In pure Nils fashion, “Windsurfer” finds that smooth jazz lane within all of us with its mid-tempo, hook-rich, and melodic reach and, of course, if you’re going to recruit him, you just have to highlight keys master Bob Baldwin offering his own penned jewel. In this case, that would be his smooth trademark found on “Land of the Sun.” Yep, you guessed it, another of my faves here.

Palmer finishes up with a tender melody-rich R&B track, “Ask Me to Stay,” penned and sung by Foster. Hot, dripping with love, and hard-hitting with a clever backing chorus singing the “I need you, baby” line from Friends of Distinction’s “Going In Circles” as it heads for the fade at the end. Very nice touch indeed, and the track is quite fitting to close this out this quality album.

The album is well-produced and offers an abundance of satisfaction. You’ll want to do yourself a favor and add it to your smooth jazz collection for it is certainly a qualified and deserving addition. – Ronald Jackson