First, I have a confession to make: I am definitely not a fan of "smooth jazz". I’ve always leaned more towards John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk than Kenny G and John Tesh…
First, I have a confession to make: I am definitely not a fan of "smooth jazz". I’ve always leaned more towards John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk than Kenny G and John Tesh. And pianist Martin Mayer’s latest release, "This Is Who I Am," is definitely a smooth jazz album. However, I have to say that while he doesn’t appeal to my particular musical tastes, I am quite impressed with him as an artist.
At the young age of 23 this Canada native has already achieved an astonishing amount of success, including in 2001 a 15-city tour of China, much of it to sold-out arenas. I think that much of his appeal comes from the intimate nature of his music. Whether the songs are soft and reflective or bold and rousing you feel that he is pouring his soul into each one. His album also benefits from immaculate production. It is quite apparent that a lot of time, money and effort has gone into producing this top notch recording. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that he has monster chops!
The songs, all Mayer originals, offer quite a variety of styles, showing Latin, Indian, Irish and classical influences alike. Some, like "Ruins Of Time" and "Irish Dancer", boast complex orchestrations with guitars, horns, synthesizers and vocals. Others offer a more minimalist approach, like the piano and cello duet of "Piano Allegro" and the solo piano of "One Final Note". But they all share the same dedication to excellence and ultimate artistic expression. All in all, this is a fine album and one that he should be extremely proud of.