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.
I recently became aware of the music of saxophonist and producer Reinhold Schwarzwald through the release of the radio single ‘Sunset’. Lifted from the album of the same name it is an outstanding example of the best that contemporary jazz has to offer and one of many great tunes in a collection crammed full of them. In fact the CD provides a superb showcase for Schwarzwald’s ultra smooth talents and is embellished by a stellar line-up of backing musicians that include guitarist Doc Powell and the stupendous flautist Valerie King.
Born of an Austrian father and Hungarian mother, Schwarzwald relocated to LA in 1999 and since then has been building a reputation as a writer, performer and educator. His music has been extensively featured on both radio and television but it is as a solo artist that a future in smooth jazz now beckons. Sunset is full of warm melodies and intoxicating rhythms that are typified by the zesty ‘Downtown’ which finds Schwarzwald on sax at his excellent best. The Latin intensity of ‘Seven Islands In Four Days’ is also a song that really fizzes while, elsewhere, soulful vocalist Fred White lends a considerable hand to the impressively heartfelt ‘All Your Love’. Later, when Schwarzwald reprises the number as an instrumental, the result is entirely magical.
In fact Sunset is a recording of delightful contrasts and although Schwartzwald ups the tempo for the high octane yet attractively rhythmic ‘Heartbeat Of The City’ he notches it down again for the mellow Brazilian sway of ‘Malheiros’. Another track that starts out in reflective mode is ‘Rain In Paris’ which nevertheless quickly evolves into something altogether more edgy. Just as intense is the fabulous, reggae infused ‘Heartbeat of The City’ and fitted neatly between eight original compositions is a smoother than smooth rendition of the Eric Clapton hit ‘Change The World’.
One of three songs produced by the genre defining recording artist Patrice Rushen, it paves the way to the appropriately named ‘Feel Good’ which, as well as doing everything the title suggests, has what it takes to make an impact on radio. However, it is when Rushen’s production skills are again called upon that Schwartzwald really strikes gold. The tasty title cut comes complete with a seriously infectious hook yet just as good is the gorgeous ‘Saxdance’. Opening with a rhythm reminiscent of what Quincy Jones used to routinely do for Michael Jackson, and developing into a wonderfully commercial smooth jazz tune, this one is sure to do well.
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 March 16, 2012 4:56 PM