If you love easy listening jazz music, then you'll gravitate to pianist Burt Brion's latest work Say the Word. This is Burt Brion's debut CD and for those not familiar with his San Diego hometown onstage performances, his music can be safely described as Dave Gruisin meets Spyro Gyra. In fact Gruisin is one of Brion's musical influences and this is evident on the effervescent "Encore."
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Brion migrated to San Diego in his adult life and became a school teacher before branching off into music. Say The Word has 11 tracks that has its high and low moments. Although Brion points out in his biography that he has been on the live performance scene in San Diego for the past fifteen years, the assumption of longevity equals expertise is not apparent on some of the singles herein. Tracks like "Lena's Lullaby" and "My Two Little Boys" which pay homage to Brion's wife and kids both belong in a family collection for posterity, not on a commercial CD. And on "Changes are Coming" and "Say The Word," the vocals are tissue thin against arrangements that sound as if they were recorded in a basement studio with a lone Yamaha providing sound effects.
But alas, there is a glimmer of hope on this CD in the form of "Let's Get it Going," a bright refreshing track with Brion's superb tickling of the ivories interspersed with some brassy sax work by John Rekevics. "It's Your Turn" holds promise because it’s one of those smooth jazz tracks that one loves to enjoy while taking those long cross-country rides. The saxophone solo here from Rekevics reminds one of the styles that the late Grover Washington had come to be associated with that is smooth like good wine. "Sunrise Serenade" is bouncy and vibrant and would do well on jazz radio stations.
Burt Brion has an Internet presence via his website http://www.burtbrionmusic.com. Check it out.