Oli Silk – Where I Left Off

June 25, 2016

You can always count on one of our groovemasters from across the big pond to deliver the musical goods when the time is right – and the time is always right. This time, British keyboardist/composer/producer Oli Silk is the deliverer of some fine grooves as he releases Where I Left Off – which is so apropos since he does pick up the party where he left off with the tight Razor Sharp Brit album back in 2013.

Silk brings in a lot of familiar mega-talent on this one, including fellow Englishman and smooth jazz guitar icon Peter White, the always dapper and super-cool guitarist Nick Colionne, songstress Katie Leone, trumpet giant Rick Braun, the lovely flutist Althea Rene, and sax virtuosos Steve Cole and Phil Denny.

Here with an array of moods and feels, Silk offers the hot, funky lead track “Ohh Baby” then settles back on the tempo a tad as he delivers the mid-tempo title track before ushering in White on the hook-rich, clean, and bouncy “Take Me Away.” He then allows Katie Leone to take us to where they’re “Burning Up the Carnival.” Pick your scenario on this one: Rio, Mardi Gras, on one of our coastal beaches, or in your own backyard party with other beloved revelers. It’s all happening on this spirited charmer.

As usual, Silk dazzles with his trademark fluid style of blowing up either piano or keys. His love of this music simply dances from his fingertips and into one’s heart, which is why he remains so well regarded among jazzers.

If you know Silk’s music, you know that you have much from which to choose as a favorite. Mine just happen, in addition to the lead track and “Burning Up the Carnival,” “Cluster Funk” (which, naturally, is rife with phat funk), the tender and soulful “Rest Assured” featuring the caressing flute of Althea Rene about midway through. Such a nice touch to a softly swaying tune. Then, there’s the dance-friendly funkster “Music Without the Sound” again featuring the Leone vocals.

You’ll notice that, often, the album is cleverly arranged to alternately switch you from an upbeat and lively place to a sweet and reflective one. Well-produced, arranged, and performed. Signature Silk. In fact, I’d say to the keyboardist: As your finale states: “Suits You, Sir!”Ronald Jackson