One would have to wonder why this incredibly exotic collaboration of guitar virtuosos, Foreign Exchange , didn’t happen until now. No matter, we’re all the happy recipients of it now. What a wonderfully melodic blend of iconic talent, depth, and insight. The bluesiness and smoothness of songwriter/producer/performer Paul Brown (who stayed out of the public eye until his inevitable rise to prominence on the public scene could be denied no more) and the refreshing and brilliant exoticism of the smooth guitar sound of Marc Antoine (one of the most pleasant, buoyant artists I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, by the way) was simply a stroke of genius bound to pay dividends in more ways than one.
I had so much fun reviewing this one and determining who was playing what (which isn’t really that difficult, considering their very distinct sounds and differences—all of which made this recording that much more appealing).
There are the bouncy and invigorating Latin-tinged tunes showcasing the Antoine touch like “Feel the Love” and the jazzier “Wine Night,” combined with the bluesy, funky, and smooth presence of Brown’s experienced fingers on cuts like “Brother Earl,” “On The Down Low,” and “French Connection,” which still points a finger at the Antoine influence, as well. Then, there’s the magnificent handling of some light Brazilian cool with “Flight of the Conchords.” Also, the moving, driving title track is so full of melody and a lively hook that it is truly representative of the entire album and the union between these two guitar greats who are so different yet so similar.
Each tune is a journey across lands and cultures that “get it,” and each tune shows an eagerness to share the powerful magic possessed by these two with all who’ll listen.
Blues, Latin, Brazilian, the smoothest of smooth jazz, and just a major cool presence all exist here to mark this project as one bound to rise to and remain at the top of the charts as a clear embrace of foreign exchanges of musical ideas and styles that will surely appeal to many an aficionado of smooth jazz, as well as to fans of either or both of these gentlemen. A fun project for those in the studio, no doubt, but it’s also one cool party for those of us who watch and listen from outside that studio.Posted by Ronald Jackson at May 17, 2009 5:39 PM