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Helen Rogers – Smooth Jazz Meets Reggae

Nov. 10, 2015

After an agonizingly long wait, songbird Helen Rogers of Jazzmasters fame has released her debut solo release, Smooth Jazz Meets Reggae, an interesting and exciting mix of – what else?– smooth jazz and reggae. No, not all in the same songs (although that could prove Helen Rogers CDto be quite interesting), but on separate tracks. Well worth the wait. Each offering is absolutely a quality gem, and she proves here that her years as the co-founder and crystalline voice for the Jazzmasters, complementing Paul Hardcastle’s grooves, were such a wonderful and growing experience. As she puts it, “My time working with Paul Hardcastle was really special to me. We had met whilst both working with UK jazz/funk band Direct Drive and, following the band’s breakup, we worked together on and off over the years. What an incredible experience it was to write and record five Jazzmasters albums with an artist, composer, and producer like Paul.”

This album is so incredibly balanced with smooth, solid, dance-ready, and even romantic grooves coupled with that irresistible island flair of rhythmic reggae. Leading off with three smooth jazz compositions — the happy, uplifting “Summer in the City” followed by the mid-tempo tastefully fluid jam “In the Light,” and the soft, caressing, romance of “Let It Be”– the songstress changes directions with the reggae magic and majesty of “Scheherazade” (no, I don’t know what that title means, but I do know that the tune penetrated my soul in less than a second). She then returns with production team Quicktouch and revisits “In the Light” before sashaying over to a velvety reggae-laced cover of William DeVaughn’s classic “Be Thankful For What You Got” (yeah, “Diamond in the back, sunroof top” – you know the rest) and goes on to work some more reggae charm with “Woman Overboard.”

There’s more; so, be sure to settle into that easy chair for this one. Rogers takes you on a colorful trip through her UK smooth jazz to the Caribbean sunlight of reggae. A great debut for this lovely songstress who has always known her way around a tune. You’ve known her as the voice of the Jazzmasters. Now, experience her alluring attractiveness as a solo artist. No disappointment here at all. – Ronald Jackson