How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Personell: Chuck Loeb (guitar), Tom Browne (trumpet), Marion Meadows (sax), Gerald Albright (sax), Will Downing (vocals), Dennis Johnson (drums) and others.
Review: Trying to establish self, Bob Baldwin is one that time has tested. Having worked with artists the likes of Roberta Flack, Grover Washington, Jr., Will Downing and Joe Sample, time and experience offer the firm foundation on which Bob now stands. Ripped off or disrespected even after the writing of music for the ‘96 Olympics in his hometown of Atlanta Georgia, Bob chose to go it alone this time and take this dotcom thing full-on, straight-up and serious. Mmmm. What a way to control the corporate raiders ruled by the ethics of money, not art.
Having done this, artsy, bluesy, funky, moody, but sho’ nuff jazz, BobBaldwin.com , the seventh CD from the keyboards of Bob Baldwin, is a statement of perseverance, inner pressure to succeed and an acute knowledge of the tools of modern society. This CD is music born of the double click. “I'll MP3 you this, you add to or take away." “Check your email!” Bits and bytes on the frequent flyer program, Bob found it more advantageous to be hot-wired than hot-headed. In my 8 CD a month, jazz bingeing opinion, Bob has cut and pasted together the best CD I've heard thus far this year. Chords interlaced with chords, more poly-phonic than poly-technic, phrases added with verse, BobBaldwin.com is a network of smooth grooves interfaced with good times and ambiance. I have argued with the eject button of my Pioneered and low Bosed, 5-speed stereo system every morning since buying this CD last week.
Slip slid BobBaldwin.com into that four wheeled, digital downloader you have parked in the driveway and you've jazz started a party. Loeb, Meadows, Albright, Browne, Marienthal, White, James, all the boys jump into the back seat and above the trunk, cramming the space between fabric and glass. How do they get in the doors? Melody helps.
An a.m. warm-up of track one, a cover of another Dionne Warwick hit, “Never Can Say Goodbye” serves as the brew to track two. “Good Morning, Love” is Bob’s way of bop bouncing the sugar in the bottom of your cup holder’s coffee to saturation. Bob’s the boss of this Funky Onion published production. City Sketches’ copyrights mark the time. It's a shame how things and folks get overlooked by the speed of money and time. Here one minute, gone the next, “fries with that shake?” The almighty dollar is about the only thing I know that time favors, so, I guess it makes sense that one should set their clocks to the time of making money and forge their own “American way”.
Other cuts like “eSmooth” “Yea Baby”, and “Westchester Dreamin’”, the latter featuring Dean James’ background satisfying sax noise, add to the melodic mixture of matured dreams and life long friendships for brother Bob.
Case in point. Track three is entitled "Funkin’ For Jamaica". Need I say more smoothies? Bob helps Tom Browne from the corporate bench and sachet’s in Tom’s mouth piece, Tonnie Smith. He un-bothers his man Marion Meadows, cajoles Gerald Albright, and fires-up Freddy Vigdor, all three to sax up the joint, and download complete, one of our favorite tunes is brought back to life. True and real, this song ain’t no cover! The entrance two note toot from Tom Browne last week at Bob’s concert in Norfolk, VA let every know Tom was back to toe-tappin’ us again.
Track six, “If You Insist”, is the corporate sound of Bob Baldwin. His distinctive piano playing is noted by the flight of his fingers. Listen as Bob does his best impression of what legends like Lewis, Benoit, Bob Jamesand Joe Sample set in stone. Baldwin doesn't pound out a song. You have to hear the conversation that takes place in between the notes to garner a full grasp of what this CD insists you do.
Frustrated by the institutional inertia encapsulated within the music industry and buoyed by the arguments concerning the flux between art and jazz, money and madness, Bob’s asks us to take up his cause and click over to his site (bobbaldwin.com) or come along for the ride given us by his new CD, “BobBaldwin.com”. The last two clicks...err, I mean tracks on this CD, “Chatroom” and “Web Surfer” sum up Bob’s mission statement perfectly. Additional songs, 7, “Being With You”, 9, “Back At One”, and 10 “West Side Highway” showcase Bob’s ability to backlit bar and smoke filled room. Full of tone and texture, these three cuts could stand alone while sitting on the couch with just two tall glasses and a pair of long legs for company.
On talking with him about his new CD, I've found Bob to be right when he says that computers have permeated the core of the question human. No where can you go in today’s industrialized or even “marginal” societies without interacting with a chip or two along the way. The microchip has become the dollar and Bob’s taking his piece of the pie. This is the essence of BobBaldwin.com , a self-financed dive into the “do it yourself” world of http, e-commerce and self-assuredness.
I'm sure I'll enjoy this friendship between myself and “BobBaldwin.com”. I’m also sure that you will too!