Los Angeles based trumpeter Jeff Kaye's debut CD Just Like Me will take jazz fans back to the days of classic 1960’s Blue Note. Recorded in 2004, Just Like Me features some fantastic straight-ahead playing from everyone involved including George Harper on tenor and the wonderful Paul Kreibich, both Ray Charles alumni like Kaye. Jeff Kaye joined the Ray Charles Orchestra in 1984 and continued to work with the group on and off up until 2003. Jeff can be heard on the soundtrack to the movie Ray.
Just Like Me is Jeff’s first album and is a really good way to start his solo career. The album is said to be a reflection of Jeff’s life and after listening to the album I like where he has been. Jeff’s tone is warm and embracing and from his melodies I can tell he is steeped in the jazz, especial hard bop, traditions. The group comes out swinging hard with the soul of Ray Charles right from the first number "Harvey Haedbanger," a tune written by Rick Hills for Brother Ray’s big band. Jeff contributes two nice compositions for the album. "Sozinho" has a sweet Brazilian flavor and a nice flugelhorn solo by Jeff. "Other Steps," a new melody over "Giant Steps," has a great Trane influenced solo by tenor man Harper. There are also fine contributions by bassist Isla Eckinger in "Two Deaf Lice" and "Jay." Drummer Paul Kreibich shines in "Partido In Mar Vista" and saxophonist George Harper in "Shalabunga." With an album packed with such great compositions, as well as fine performances, it is hard not to like every track. I really enjoyed how well everyone on the album is featured throughout. I get the impression this group would be fantastic to see live. After such a brilliant debut CD as this, it can only leave the listen anxious for more. I have a feeling Jeff is anxious to give us more. Just Like Me would a great addition to the jazz lovers CD collection just as Jeff Kaye’s music is a great additions to jazz.