Here’s a decently flavorful collection of smooth grooves from Tomazz, an artist who’s been around for a while performing and serving as a keys tech for such artists as Boyz II Men and our beloved late great Grover Washington Jr. His sophomore smooth jazz release, Lucid Dreams, seems to be a gentle, breezy ride along the smooth jazz coastline. Not having heard his first, Orient Bay, released in 2007, I’m not sure if this is a retreat or more of the same from him, but this seems quite capable of standing on its own two legs.
Obviously produced with an abundance of synth work (no other accompaniment is mentioned in the credits), Tomazz starts off with his Hardcastle-like title track and saunters through the remainder of the CD with some pretty impressive melodies and soft vocals that almost seem shy.
All of the 12 tracks are composed exclusively by him and, while I thought I might be in for a lot of repetition, as these synth-only projects often tend to be, Tomazz offers some light and welcome surprises with his display of compositional skills. No, there are no extraordinarily complex runs and riffs here, no mind-blowing bridges or hooks, but the project holds together quite nicely with the tickling of the ivories and the effective way he pulls the bass and rest of the rhythm section around the quaint melodies…and there are genuinely catchy hooks, by the way.
There is an abundance of good ol’ chill-out-and-let-go music that’s meant to massage and soothe. However, while there’s a lot of, as one of his tracks puts it, “Smooth Dancin’” going on, he shows that he’s not afraid to cut loose a bit every now and again, as “Sanctify” demonstrates.
Not a unique CD, but certainly fitting for that lazy afternoon where a good melody will do the trick.