J E F F * D A N I E L S
Marcus Miller, Renaissance, (Concord Jazz) (2012)
Flamingo Star, I Wouldn't Wait No Longer (Sheer Sound/peacelounge Records) (2008)
Groove55, Voyage (123jamm.com) (2012)
Duncan Millar, Fresh Air (Warmday Records) (2013)
P E T E R * B O E H I
Fabiana Passoni - Dim The Lights (2013)
Brazilian songstress Fabiana Passoni tackles some Pop and R&B classics with her sultry voice and laid-back acoustic Brazilian bossa nova style. Songs include Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You", Michael Jackson's "Rock With You", Rufus & Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody" and others. Great unobtrusive horn arrangements and a top-notch band make this a very pleasing album to unwind. Thumbs up!
Joe Sample - Rainbow Seeker (1978)
This album by Crusaders' pianist Joe Sample is one of my "desert island" albums and the best record he ever did in his whole career (although this is certainly debatable, given his extensive and varied output). I always love to come back to this album full of memorable melodies and enjoy its mix of great piano playing that is always jazzy, but never overpowering, supported by an excellent band and tons of strings. Out of this world!
Drew Davidsen - True Drew (2013)
You may think of Drew whatever you want, but this guy is relentless and keeps on making his mark on the music scene, delivering another outstanding album. He employed great producers (among them Norman Connors) and a string of top-drawer players, so with his heartfelt playing and a bunch of strong compositions, you a get a great guitar album. Keep it up, Drew!
Terry Tuck - Desert Wind (2013)
Bass player Terry Tuck comes up with a funky album showcasing his thumping bass playing, it offers a nice selection of groovy compositions and good ensemble playing, but most of all - he covers one of my all-time favorite love songs by guitarist Wilbert Longmire called "But I Love You". Who else would dare doing that?
David Spinozza - Here's That Rainy Day (1983)
My nod to the past goes to Guitarist David Spinozza who delivers here a great LP supported by NYC finest session players. You get a mix of relaxed playing by a bunch of seasoned session player with nice melodies and - above all - true instruments, yielding a nice live feeling. Very nice funked up version of "My Funny Valentine". Stood the test of time!
D E N I S * P O O L E
‘Surrendered Soul’ by Tim Cunningham from his soon to be released CD Reflection. This highly anticipated follow up to his 2007 project Manchester Road promises much and, if this sultry, cool yet definitely funky track is anything to go by, is sure to do well.
‘Island Groove’ by sax-man Elan Trotman from the album Tropicality. Hidden amongst what otherwise are predominately understated, sunshine filled songs, this zesty cut has the potential to fill dance floors around the world. Produced by Rhani Song, and with sensuous vocals from Chantel Hampton, it may well prove to be the surprise packet of the entire recording.
‘Dance With You’, the extremely attractive single release from composer producer and keyboard player Greg Manning. Featuring Mindi Abair on sax, and that smooth jazz chameleon Bruce Nazarian on guitar, this up-tempo high-octane tune is well worth checking out.
‘Get What You Give’ by Duncan Millar from the CD Fresh Air. Vitalized by subtle backing vocals from Dennis Charles and without doubt the most upbeat number that the collection has to offer, this is a track with the potential to attract cult status.
‘I’m Into You’ by guitarist Drew Davidsen from his current release True Drew. Complete with opulent backing from The Temptations vocalist Ron Tyson this one proves to be a mellifluous masterpiece.
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.
When in 2009 I reviewed Groove With Me from New York based singer, songwriter and woodwind player Paula Atherton I commented that this sensational collection had made her a major player on the contemporary jazz scene. It followed her 2004 debut recording Let Me Inside Your Love that made its mark on the national smooth jazz charts and provided the cut ‘I Long For Your Love’ for the compilation CD Ladies of Jazz which also featured Natalie Cole, Candy Dulfer and Eliane Elias. Now, after way too long, she is back with the delicious Enjoy The Ride.
Paula quickly makes up for lost time with the opening track, the immensely zesty ‘Herbie’, where on flute she gives a respectful nod to the legendary Herbie Mann. Later, when that modern day legend, the one and only Nick Colionne, enters the scene he adds some serious horsepower to the appropriately titled ‘Sassy Strut’ and another guest artist to be found strutting her stuff is rising star Cindy Bradley whose blistering trumpet contributes in no small measure to the Latin drenched ‘Rice And Beans’.
As well as being a wonderful sax player and flautist, Paula also has a singing voice with the power to captivate. She demonstrates this with the decidedly soulful ‘Wont Give Up’, the emotionally charged ‘Try It Again’ and again with ‘Let It Be’ that luxuriates in an easy groove and underlying message.
Yet perhaps best of all is the mellifluous ‘Cant Get You Out Of My Mind’ that proves to be the perfect vehicle with which to showcase her considerable vocal talent. When later she reprises the number in instrumental form the result is just as good and, although ‘Catch Me If You Can’ is a sumptuous slice of textbook smooth jazz, the hard driving ‘Turn it Up’ finds her packing in another powerhouse performance on sax.
For those of you who have yet to discover the magic of Paula Atherton there has never been a better time to start.
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.