Changing Directions, Robb Hunter Jr.’s debut release is a valiant but heavily flawed effort. Hunter, a pianist and drummer, wrote and produced the entire album himself. He …
Changing Directions, Robb Hunter Jr.’s debut release is a valiant but heavily flawed effort. Hunter, a pianist and drummer, wrote and produced the entire album himself. He describes the music as "smooth jazz rhythmic funk". I assume that he also performed all the parts himself as well, as it sounds very ‘programmed’. Only the keyboards sound as if they were played live, which is somewhat surprising to me considering the fact that he is also a drummer.
Hunter has an ear for grooves, and that is the only thing that prevents this album from being a total loss. The grooves he creates are pleasant and relaxing, serving as nice ‘mood’ music. Unfortunately, he seems to have absolutely no ear for melody or song hooks. I listened in vain for a hint of a real chorus or bridge and found none. This collection of eight songs is little more than a series of rhythmic loops with some light solos thrown in here and there to break the monotony. And monotonous it is. While he does create some decent grooves, there is very little variety on this album. In some cases the same groove has been recycled and used on more than song, adding redundancy to the album’s list of shortcomings.
I have no doubt that Mr. Hunter possesses some talent as a musician and producer and based on that I believe that he is capable of far better work than this. It is my feeling that he needs to go back to the drawing board, and either take some song writing classes or at the very least listen to (and analyze) some great smooth jazz music by musicians he admires and try to figure out what makes their music work in areas in which his is less effective. With a little hard work and serious study I think he could be a smooth jazz artist of some significance.