Great musicians, truly great musicians, can play any style of music. That is true in any of the great recording cities in the United States. The wealth of fantastic musicians in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville almost boggles the mind. This CD is a compilation of different jazz artists currently working in Nashville. All the cuts, as is typically true with compilations, are great. When artists have the ability to put their best foot forward you're going to get their best. There are 11 different cuts on the disc led by 10 different artists.
Highlights include guitarist Denny Jiosa's delightful "East Of Montgomery." In addition to being a guitarist, he's also a recording engineer who has worked on a number of Grammy nominated releases. The light and hookish subtle melody of this track is accentuated by Jiosa's bright and supple finger work.
Smooth jazz trumpeter Michael Fair is easily one of those musicians who deserves some national airplay as a leader. He's worked with a long list of great artists including Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Larry Carlton, Olivia Newton-John, Leon Russell, Gary Puckett, Gregg Allman, John Hiatt, Sam Moore, Carman, Claude McKnight, Victor Wooten and Kirk Whalum. On "Brazillian (sic) Sunrise," his lush flugelhorn tone is brilliantly set against the smooth Latin percussion rhythms. His use of heavy reverb fits perfectly against the synth strings to a strikingly good effect.
Saxophonist Joe Johnson's up-tempo R&B "Doing It Right" is a pleasure. This hip groove-oriented tune is better than 80 percent of what is currently playing on smooth jazz radio stations nationwide. Johnson has played on more than 400 commercial and jingle dates working for major clients such as Target, Ford Motor Company, Budweiser, Taco Bell, Coke and Mattel toys, as well as playing with a veritable who's who in music. His saxophone tone is full yet dances wonderfully through the hip melody.
Keyboardist, publisher and Alabama Music Hall of Fame Achiever Thomas Cain is no stranger to success. He has written and or performed commercial jingles for many national product campaigns, including Rubbermaid, Jartran Truck Rentals, McDonald's, Oscar Meyer and Golden Flake Potato Chips. His quasi-ballad "Winter" reminds one of the work Kim Pensyl did on his early recordings as a leader.
There is obviously one misstep on the disc. The light popish "I Wanna Fall In Love Forever" by Karlton Taylor is offered twice, once with vocals and the other time without. The version without vocals must be a mistake as it is just the same as the one with vocals, only minus the vocal track. That aside, this is a great disc of music by some unknown, unknown to people outside of the business, artists.