June 12, 2010

Chris Geith - Island Of A Thousand Dreams

Welcome to the latest issue of Denis Poole’s Secret Garden, the page that offers a personal perspective on the very best from the world of smooth jazz and classic soul. There is something about Chris Geith’s music that is precious. Full of glorious melodies and hugely accessible rhythms it is as if every song tells a story. His 2008 release Timeless World was nothing short of a revelation and now he is back with the similarly stunning Island Of A Thousand Dreams. It finds him reunited with sax man Fed Scerbo, Donny D on drums and percussion, Mark Mullers on bass and, significantly, guitarist Matt Marshak who as a solo artist is rapidly making quite a name for himself. Written, produced and arranged by Geith, the resultant fifteen choice cuts prove to be a high quality example of melodic contemporary jazz.

Opening up with entirely accessible ‘Watch Your Step’, Geith delivers what could easily be taken as a metaphor for the entire smooth jazz genre and when he notches down the tempo for ‘When Morning Comes’ it’s Scerbo on sax who makes a significant contribution. Equally introspective are the twin delights of ‘Only The Heart Knows’ and ‘Yesterday’s Goodbye’ yet, whatever the pace, Geith’s consummate playing is always of the highest order. A case in point is the perky vibe of ‘Eternal Spring’ which is a tune that you will return to often and elsewhere the street wise swagger of ‘Once In A Lifetime’ is truly something to savour.

Geith has written for numerous television shows where his credits include Behind The Music and Inside Fame for VH1; Hometime (PBS), Berman & Berman For Women Only (Discovery Health), Autoline Detroit, My Classic Car (Speed Channel), That's My Baby (Animal Planet) and Famous Homes & Hideaways for TBS Super Station. Consequently it should be no surprise that the evocative ‘Coastal Daydreaming’ is a hit TV theme just waiting to happen. Another number with cinematic potential is the tenderly reflective ‘The Mirror Of Happiness’ whilst the uplifting ‘Easy Does It’ benefits from some nice guitar work from Matt Marshak and more great keys from Geith

Geith’s penchant for musical story telling even extends to the sequencing of the tracks. The inspirational ‘Flying West’ merges effortlessly (yet logically) into ‘Above The Clouds’ before the zesty title tune touches down at the albums natural destination. Here the jazzy sax of Fred Scerbo serves as a delicious accompaniment to Geith’s dazzling keys and although ‘Blue Horizons’ is a song that conveys a mood of hope and fulfilment, the inbuilt urgency of ‘Tomorrow’s Promise’ makes it a real Secret Garden favourite.

However, right up there with it and possibly emerging as the CD’s best track is the easy grooving ‘Diamonds In The Sky’. With a hypnotic quality that is special and fabulous guitars from Marshak, this one will play and play.

Do you have any comments on what you have found in this edition of the Secret Garden? If so please e-mail me on DenisPoole2000@Yahoo.com.

Posted by Denis Poole at June 12, 2010 5:52 PM