Do you remember when smooth jazz music was like a good cup of coffee or a bite of dark Belgian chocolate and it made you close your eyes and sigh deeply? In a world of formula-driven tunes that have hijacked the name smooth jazz and demonstrate little in the way of creativity, there is a name that emerges that give us hope. Alan Hewitt’s CD Metropolis is so good you will close your eyes and lust after every note.
The two-time platinum artist needs no introduction to jazz aficionados. He has worked with artists including Jonathan Butler, legendary blues artist T. Bone Walker and Earth, Wind and Fire. His music has appeared in numerous television programs and feature films such as Bridget Jones and E! Entertainment Television.
"Joyride" is the first piece following the instrumental introduction "Vibe" and sets the stage for what ends up being a magical musical experience listening to Hewitt polish the keys with some wonderful strokes. Paul Klingberg did a masterful job of mixing this album. Hewitt’s chops lead the way, with a great tenor sax performance by Gerald Spikes. Spikes doesn’t really play a solo on "Joyride," but he is front and center at the midpoint of the tune blowing some phenomenal notes. The more ethereal "Velvet Kisses" features a great call and response between the piano/keys and Spikes’ horn. Throughout "Velvet Kisses" Jervonny Collier establishes a deep bass line.
Steve Mandaio’s trumpet appears on the title track "Metropolis," "Hot Fun in the Summertime," "Liquid Blue" and "Indigo." The thing I enjoyed most about this album is the ability to peel back layer after layer and still find another tasty morsel lying beneath the surface. Hewitt’s ample use of horns contributes to those great textures and that comes clearly into focus with the seventh track "Liquid Blue" as Mondaio meets up with trombonist Wendell Kelly. Sheilah Chambers’ ghostly vocals serve as more of a background for the instrumentals on the songs "Hot Fun in the Summertime," "Swingin’ On Sunset," "So In Love" and "Lost In Emotion".
The talented Brian Price excels on guitar throughout the album as does drummer Chad Wright.
All twelve tracks were written, arranged and produced by Alan Hewitt. Paul Klingberg acted as co-producer.