Apr. 7, 2017
Trombonist Geoff Alpert makes his entrance with his debut release Open Your Heart with a nice splash of smooth and a lot of impressive endorsements by virtue of their respective contributions to this classy, silky recording (co-producer/musical director/keyboardist Gail Jhonson, the L.A. Collective – guitarist Adam Hawley, keyboardist Greg Manning, and drummer/percussionist Tony Moore –, and featuring guests like saxman Michael Paulo and flautist Althea Rene).
Open Your Heart is flush with real jazz influence and some R&B grooves which include cool renditions of a pair of covers (Michael Jackson’s high-steppin’ “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Don’t Ask My Neighbors,” the classic Emotions-recorded, Skip Scarborough-written 1970s track to round it all out.
Alpert makes his motivation and driving force for this album crystal clear. Being a practitioner and teacher of the spiritual Eastern martial arts disciplines, he states that “This album – like my teaching of Ken–Ka–Kung Fu – is all about love, sharing and the willingness to open your heart. Wherever you go in life, the center of your journey is always found within. Challenge yourself, maintaining your balance and focus as you navigate life’s obstacles on your way to becoming your truest, most humble best self…with honesty, integrity, discipline & respect.” You do get a sense of a higher-ground catalyst being behind the concept and making of this album.
In addition to the covers, Alpert presents some appetizing originals that easily appeal to the discerning ear. Tracks like the rather gentle “Let It Go,” the Brazilian-caressed title track, “Aloha Nights” featuring Hawaiian-born Michael Paulo, the lazily romantic “Thinking About You,” and the finger-snapping finale “The Crusade.”
Overall, a very appealing start to what should shape up to be a wonderful smooth jazz adventure for the trombonist. – Ronald Jackson