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Marc Antoine – Laguna Beach

Feb. 25, 2017

Marc Antoine’s latest album Laguna Beach (one I’m again reviewing here due to a technical snafu that apparently erased it from our pages) is another of the French guitarist’s smooth and rather exotic projects on which his light shines brightly.

Joined here by guitarist/producer Paul Brown, keyboardist/producer Philippe Saisse, trumpeter Rick Braun, bassist Roberto Vally, and saxman Greg Vail, Antoine sets the wheels in motion for slick-grooved tracks throughout.

Kickin’ it off with the finger-snappin’, horn-driven “Why Not” — a track that has a bit if that 60s/70s Memphis feel, the album sprouts a life of its own as it confidently struts through with tracks like “This and That” featuring Brown and his very distinctive guitar work, the coolly funky and picturesque title track, the cool summer breeze called “Minority,” the Latin-tinged “Romantico,” and the snappy and catchy “High Five,” among others.

Knowing his way around a smooth groove, along with Brown et al. who know a thing or two about the C-jazz neighborhood, Antoine ensures that this venture can only be described as pleasantly expected. We have simply come to know that an Antoine album will be one chock full of jazz moves to which we will quickly warm. That notion is further advanced when you have Antoine producing and Brown mixing, as is the case here. Nothing less than the consummate jazz creation.

We rightfully talk a lot about up-and-coming artists who will, one day, take the musical baton and run with it, hopefully in the right direction, but Antoine and other vets like him (Saisse, Brown, and so many others) remind us that they still hold that fire, presence, and mustard that keeps the reins of the genre nestled firmly in hand for now. Let’s always acknowledge that while trumpeting the promise of tomorrow that is the new kid in town. – Ronald Jackson