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Royal Nights by Jesse J. Smith

One-man-show (writer-producer-performer of all songs and instruments) Jesse J. Smith puts forth his debut album here, entitled Royal Nights, a very heavy synth/organ production. Quite candidly, I’m not too sure that I would want to handle this much synth in one sitting without an awful lot of enticing, appealing melodies and great phrasing.

It’s obvious that the material was definitely intended for electronica fans. Effective? Imaginative? Exciting? Enlightening? Not in this reviewer’s opinion. There is just something too, well, monosyllabic and benign and almost totally uncommunicative about the whole thing for me. Some of the melodies aren’t too bad in spots (though none really showcases what Smith can probably really produce), but the music simply doesn’t speak. It appears to be simply an experiment in the bringing together of sounds and, if a melody happens in the process, good.

Understand that never did I reach the conclusion that Smith is untalented or lacking vision. I do think that this material may have not been the best choice for him, if he was trying to reach out and touch affect. For rock fans, there’s the occasional note or sound that might remind you of a Black Sabbath passage, but, unfortunately, that quickly passes.

I applaud the artist’s effort here, as I’m sure this was not a project accomplished at one sitting, especially considering that he is generous in the number of tunes offered (18). I also strongly suspect that, with a little more time reflecting on appeal, direction, phrasing, and mood, he could easily push ahead to become a decent player in the world of jazz.... but only after he has more thoroughly identified himself and his music.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jesse J. Smith
  • CD Title: Royal Nights
  • Genre: Electronica
  • Year Released: 2007
  • Record Label: Grand World Music
  • Rating: One Star
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