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

Michael Walker – A Smoother You

Feb. 8, 2013

Sometimes, I will get a press sheet on a particular artist that is a short one-pager that’s brief and to the point. Sometimes, there’s a bit of exaggeration or embellishment; sometimes, the Michael Walkerlanguage couldn’t be truer. No hype, just facts. The latter is true in the case of guitarist Michael Walker. In part, his one-pager reads, “One in a while there comes a talent that just stands out…Michael embraces R&B and smooth jazz while incorporating a little ‘southern soul.’ It’s a captivating difference.” Merging smooth — or contemporary — jazz and R&B is nothing new. The two have been bedfellows for awhile now. Still, everything about the press sheet boldly boasts of the truth. Walker is the real deal, and his debut release, A Smoother You, stands up proudly to proclaim that.

The guitarist’s delivery, the fresh and original material bearing a slight resemblance to the smoothness of our dear friends George Benson and Norman Brown, and, as one of songs states, his “sweet swag” is bound to make Walker a name you’ll soon see among the who’s who in contemporary jazz.

Everything about this material and this artist spells strong competence and confidence. The silky, jazzy runs and soothing melodies are among the first things you notice in listening to this album of all original material penned by Walker (save two written by multi-instrumentalist Quentin Moore).

One listen to the sassy, upbeat lead track, “Let’s Do It’” featuring vocalist Angela Blair; the suave, moving “I Wanna Love You;” the light, swaying mid-tempo “Brother To Brother” featuring the tender vocals of Karen Bernod; or  the rousing title track (among so many others) will capture your affinity for Walker’s style.

This is a solid project. Walker says it all in two plain sentences. “It’s totally me. It’s a happy-feeling CD that brings a smile to your face.” Yes, at the very minimum. This debut should definitely earn him praise and respect from many of his peers in this genre and admiration from jazzers everywhere. – Ronald Jackson