Dave has been recording as a solo artist for over 20 years now, and this one peaked at #1 on the Jazz Chart. Plus, he brings us back to my new favorite category of the month, Instrumental Pop.
If you're interested, the full album can be streamed through Spotify as we move through the tracks!
"Put the Top Down" kicks things off with a smooth saxophone and funky little beat backing it. Lee Ritenour is a featured artist on here, 'cause you know you can never do it on your own in these instances. This sounds like a great classic jazz number with really good recording capabilities. If I had to guess, I think Lee's probably the one coming in on electric guitar here and there, as the two just keep trading off some good-sounding notes throughout. Here's a live video with Aqui & Ajazz of the song:
"It's Always Been You" was playing across the room while I was caught up in something, and I rushed to finish to get back to type my thoughts. This is beautiful and heartbreaking all at once, which I think is completely fitting of the title. The sax plays out this just gorgeous sound of longing and realization all at once, and the compliment of the piano to it brings the lightness such a message requires. Despite the older feel to the song itself, this is by far the most moving of tracks we've gotten.
A bit of a reggae beat comes on down with "Getaway." Sheila E. (one of my favorites ever! Anyone ever watch Magin Johnson's late night show when she was the band director?? No? Okay... how about seen her on tour with Ringo Starr?? No? Ugh. You all suck. She's awesome.) and Jonathan Butler join in for this one, and there are even vocals! It's most definitely what you want to hear when either planning or heading toward a vacation. There's just something right about the vision of beautiful beaches and a calm ocean.
"This Guy's In Love With You" is an old Burt Bacharach and Hal David song, in which Herb Alpert, the original recording artist from 1968, is featured! It's most definitely the love song on the album (I know, a lot have been) bringing every element of a love song on board until it's almost a little sickeningly sweet. Seriously, there's just too much going on here and my mind's swimming trying to relate at all.
Keb Mo is featured on "There's A Better Way," a song that seems to take on an uplifting role for the album. There's a brief little encouraging message at the start, and all the music seems to acknowledge hard times, but hope for better. The synth in the back is life, but the horns are what brings you to more. It's just got this ting of goodness embedded in it that brings your heart back to believing just a bit. It's a plain ol' jazz song, but knowing there's more somehow makes it more.
"Start All Over Again" features Dana Glover, who's voice immediately reminds me of a girl that sang in a Cirque Du Solei show a few years ago that I went to with a friend. It's an incredibly beautiful song, and her voice is outstanding. It's got meaning behind it, not just the tones of the notes. The words compliment the way she sings them and she breathes life into them as it rolls through. Simply outstanding.
Tehehe, anyone ever watch "Doug?" Someone's got to catch on to my references at some point here. Anywhos, the next song is called "Think Big," and I can't help but feel the similarities to the same song from that show. It's not, of course, but still - frame of reference. Featured artists here include: Christian Scott, Marcus Miller, Keb Mo, and Brian Culbertson. They all seem to work well together, in this somewhat more playful song. I say that, but really it's very well put together for a seemingly laid-back jam session.
"The Journey" is right back to the smooth jazz sounds, maybe even playing with a bit of R&B, making it, quite frankly, even smoother. It's, for lack of better descriptions, wonderful background music. It's mellow, but builds perfectly from time to time to remind you it's there. Even when you're busy applying for jobs.
Back to more funk style with "Remember Where You Come From" featuring Jeff Lorber, our final guest artist. I'm having trouble finding something unique to say for each of these tracks because they do clearly all fit together, but maybe a little to well. The songs that give variety are knock outs, which the rest a struggling to be something special. This one, for instance, didn't really hit me until a small piano line was heard amongst the rest of the horn work.
"Whisper In Your Ear" takes back on the R&B feel, which I'm now realizing is more in the same vein of smooth jazz than my brain was allowing when we started. This one needs to subtract at least one horn in the louder portions, as their playing together is just jaunting to the ears. It's actually making the spot right between my eyes hurt a little bit for some reason. I really do like this album, but the same constant sounds are getting to me.
And finally, a sweet and short ending is provided with "What You Leave Behind." Play us out, Mr. Koz.
Added To My Playlist:
- "It's Always Been You"
- "Start All Over Again"
This was a weird listen, because so much of this music comes across as elevator music. It's lovely to hear for a few minutes, but then gets old. However, without listening to the entire album, you would miss out on some wonderful tracks that do speak to more than a waiting crowd.