Welcome to BERKS JAZZ VIBES, where more concert reviews are on the way momentarily, but first a station break for some important JAZZ NEWZ:
NAME THAT CD
Guitarist/composer Chieli Minucci is on a mission for the perfect title for his new solo CD. If your title is chosen, you can count on your own (I’m sure very specially- autographed) CD, to be released in spring of 2005. Please visit www.chielimusic.com and click on his message board to see tentative titles for the songs in order to get a feeling for what he’s after in a title. The CD promises to be a hit with guests Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Oliver, Gerald Veasley, and David Mann, as well as faces we know from Special EFX, including Lionel Cordew, Jerry Brooks, Jay Rowe, and Philip Hamilton.
NEW WEBSITE FOR SMOOTH JAZZ LOVERS
For those of you who like to visit many sites in your quest to find out what’s new in the world of smooth jazz, watch for the debut of www.smoothviews.com on November 1st, where you can read even more concert and CD reviews, as well as artist interviews and lots of other miscellaneous information about this genre of music. And while you’re over there, say hi to Mary, a smooth jazz buddy of mine!
A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
Ok, so I’m a little behind other smooth jazz aficionados who’ve already spent years listening to some great groups that are ‘new’ to me. But if, like me, you enjoy the work it takes when you finally stumble down the path leading to a gem of a band who’s been around a few years, you’ll do just what I did today, which is run out to find at least one CD of a group called 3rd Force. Why? Read on....
Scanning webradio stations on a peaceful Sunday morning, it was the horn section that first caught my attention, then the guitar and sax coming in, then the full sound of keyboards and other effects rounding it out. Checking the artist, I thought, ‘Where have they been??’ After some research on my part, that question quickly became ‘Where have I been?’ It seems there is never a shortage of great music to discover in this ever expanding world of what we call contemporary and smooth jazz, yet I’m still so surprised to realize I have missed the entire earlier career of some of my now favorite artists. I hope I will be forgiven in light of children’s soccer games and swim meets.
That first song I heard was '7th Heaven,' from the Force Field CD, and besides the horns drawing me in, what I noticed immediately about the music is the way the song transforms into smaller pieces – ending one tempo and beginning another, each piece with its own identity yet fitting into the song in its entirety, something that takes a lot of skill in order to keep the listener moving comfortably along throughout. Not a problem for this band, and as I later listened to and watched a video on their site, (from their first concert) I heard the same technique in the skillful composition of yet another song. Quite amazing.
What I quickly learned after poking around a bit is that this group formed about ten years before their first live concert in 2002. The main players, (hence, 3rd force), William Aura, Craig Dobbin, and Alain Eskinasi, who individually have plenty of musical background and talent, join together with others to produce music that is, in a word, soul-reaching. And that’s addressing merely one aspect of music that is enriching, uplifting, and evidence of talent in so many ways. They have been busy producing CDs for every kind of force there is, and so far CD titles include Vital Force, Gentle Force, Force Field, Force of Nature, and Collective Force. To further whet your appetite, players who’ve appeared on 3rd Force CDs have included Craig Chaquico, Tom Scott, Rick Braun, Greg Carmichael and Miles Gilderdale of Acoustic Alchemy, and Jimmy Sommers, to name a few.
My words here couldn’t possibly do justice to the unique characteristics of the music of 3rd Force, but if you haven’t yet given them a listen, I encourage you to look them up on Amazon.com. Listen to some song clips and read the reviews, which you’ll find include only the most complimentary of musical descriptions, and then join me on this journey into their music to see where it will lead us.
A new CD is scheduled for release in February, 2005, and proves to be, as its title implies, the next Driving Force that will no doubt keep this band in the forefront of contemporary music.
Happy jazzin’ and …. may the Force be with you!
Jazz Circle Member of the Berks Arts Council