Beverly J. Packard
Beginning this month, SJV writers will give you an inside look at what we�re listening to behind the scenes.
B R I A N * S O E R G E L
Jeff Lorber, Flipside: Lorber�s triumphant new album may just the best he�s ever done. Organic and jazzy, it showcase Lorber�s improvisational side while remaining as smooth as ever.
Bossacucanova, Uma Batida Differente: The Brazilian trio updates the bossa nova sound with a groovy, electronica vibe, taking advantage of all the great singers in Brazil. Especially joyous is a remake of the Caetano Veloso/Chico Buarque protest song �Vai Levando.�
Jason Miles, Miles to Miles: Producer and keyboardist Jason Miles, a prot�g� of Miles Davis, pays homage to the late trumpeter with a mostly original recording capturing the energy and spirit of his namesake. Marc Antoine and Keiko Matsui stop by for a reading of the classic �Flamenco Sketches.�
Various Artists, What Is Hip? Remix Project, Volume One: The Doobie Brothers� �Listen to the Music� and Seals and Crofts� �Summer Breeze� never sounded so cool. A big highlight is Nightmare on Wax�s beefed-up face lift of George Benson�s �This Masquerade.�
Allen Hinds, Fact of the Matter: Guitarist Allen Hinds, a session player extraordinaire, proves he�s got the lead-man chops on a rocking, funky, bluesy, jazzy and thoroughly engaging instrumental project. The title track is majestic and Metheny-esque, with soaring vocalese by Rogerio Jardim.
Read on for more....
D E N I S * P O O L E
�Reasons� by Earth Wind and Fire from the CD Earth Wind and Fire - The Love Songs because nobody performs a catchy soul tune that you cant get out of your head like EW & F.
�Talk To Me� by Euge Groove from his CD Livin Large as this track got under my skin awhile ago and it wont go away.
�Operator� by Jim Croce from the CD Photographs and Memories as when I'm not listening to soul or smooth jazz I love a track that tells a story.
�Friday� by Roger Smith from the CD Just Enough as it has the best horn riff of 2004 on it.
�Are You Mine� by Peter White from the CD Confidential because I have been playing it none stop since it first came out.
J O N A T H A N * W I D R A N
Chieli Minucci, Got It Goin' On, 2005.
Chuck Loeb, When I'm With You, 2005.
Acoustic Alchemy, American English, 2005.
Paul Taylor, Nightlife, 2005.
Jonathan�s list, I might add, is comprised of all new CDs that have not yet been officially released! We await your comments, Jonathan!
B E V E R L Y * P A C K A R D
Billy Eric, Yes, Indeed, 2003: Possibly the only CD where the songs themselves threatened to �beat up� the artist if they were eliminated from the recording! (Now you have no choice but to read the liner notes.) What a compilation of 33 songs on a double CD! Features favorite saxophone player David Mann on over half the songs and he�s mesmerizing. Eric shows great talent on guitar and in composing; his playing is nicely intertwined with other instruments, including some excellent piano, clarinet, trumpet work. My favorites are sprinkled throughout both CDs � �Pied Piper� and �Turquoise� reminiscent of other favorites of mine, Steely Dan and Spyro Gyra, respectively. Unique in its harmony and key changes, 'Such Is Life' is hauntingly beautiful in its vocals � this song alone is worth taking this CD set to the check out counter.
Brian Tarquin, High Life, 2001: Typical of Brian�s clean, crisp sound, with melodies I love; he�s a favorite guitarist I could listen to endlessly. Follows Ghost Dance, and Last Kiss Goodbye, and does not disappoint the listening fan.
George Jinda, Reliable Sources, 1992: Sometimes I just have to stop to listen and appreciate the work of George Jinda. Percussionist extraordinaire, best known for his association with Chieli Minucci in the group Special EFX, how I would have loved to see George in concert. I�m quite certain his death in 2002 cheated us of the creation of many, many songs. Produced during a time when he and Chieli each decided to pursue some solo projects, this CD is full of wonderfully recurring melodies, memorable key changes, funky Latin beat, flamenco guitar, and great dynamics. Features Gerald Veasley on bass, Randy Roos on guitar and synthesizer, and Scalzci on acoustic guitar and grand piano. Who else but George could come up with a track entitled, �Overleafing a New Turn?�
Merlon Devine, Breathe (2004): Sax player Merlon Devine delivers a worthwhile smooth jazz album. It is available at CDBaby.com and deserves your attention.
Bobby Wells, Bayside (2004): I have been raving about this picture perfect smooth jazz album previously and would like to list it here again - essential stuff featuring Michael O'Neill, Eric Marienthal and others.
Alexander Zonjic, Seldom Blues (2004): This CDs brims with groovy tracks, jazzy flute playing and memorable tracks making this one a highlight of Alexander Zonjic' illustrious career. Check out the great cover of War's "Spill the Wine"!
In Due Season, In Due Season (2004): This EP containing 6 tracks might get overlooked so I list it here once more. This band delivers some absolutely essential stuff. Great band feel, sparkling piano and synths, good songs making you feel good.
Hope you enjoyed our musical journey. We�ll be back next month with more inspiration for you, our readers. In the meantime, keep on listening!