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Roberto Vazquez – Matices

Apr. 23, 2017

Keyboardist/pianist Roberto Vazquez returns with a project, Matices, that is so smooth and exotic that it dares you to turn your ears away from its warm appeal.

Vazquez’s 2012 Between Two Worlds release was pretty solidly steeped in the smooth jazz groove exclusively while this release unleashes the exoticism of the Latin sound on a few tracks like the lead track “Rumba Que Retumba,” a hot and lively number, the soft & sexy “Thru Her Eyes” (one of my faves), and the easy yet snappy “Bahia” that teases the Latin vibe and folds it in with distinctive jazz inflections.

As with Between Two Worlds, Vazquez features saxman Marion Meadows who (again) adds handsomely to the mix, offering his trademark sultry style.

This project offers a touch of diversity and lots of charm. It also offers yet another look into the soul of Vazquez’s music. The different moods, styles, and melodies set you on a journey into the vast and colorful world of jazz music in all of its fine variations. While I personally still favor his previous Between Two Worlds release, this latest recording is a clear demonstration of the skill and polish that Vazquez offers his listeners with his choice of music.

Aside from the lead track, this is an easy album; easy on the ears, easy on the soul, easy on the cadence, and easy in its approach – all the while maintaining a firm grip on melody. These all point to an artist who truly knew where he wanted to take his project. For smooth jazzers, this is a trip worth taking. – Ronald Jackson