William Woods: Cobalt Blue (2004)
Pianist and composer William Woods is a radiological oncologist by vocation and talented jazz musician by avocation. Cobalt contains eleven smooth jazz tunes composed by him. The album title has a subtle physician's reference, since it refers to a radioactive substance employed in cancer treatment. Regis Branson, who is associated with Alex Bugnon, Howard Johnson, Najee, and Will Downing, produced the disc. Branson and Woods both contributed to the arrangements. The disc features Woods on piano with Branson adding keyboards, bass, drums, percussion and occasional vocals in the background. Also contributing to the project are soprano saxophonist Vincent Henry, soprano saxophonist Mark Friedman, alto saxophonist Robert DeBellis, and drummer Bernard Davis.
The resulting music is an edgy brand of adult contemporary jazz that exists somewhere between a hip Boney James and cerebral David Benoit. The disc starts with the composition "Out of My Hands," betraying a predisposition on the composer's part for rhythmic melody. This trend permeates the whole of this release, a smart and solid approach that makes the music vitally enjoyable and accessible. This recording will appeal to the staunchest contemporary jazz buffs and traditional acoustic heads alike.
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Track Listing: 1. Out of My Hands; 2. Rhythm; 3. Princess Dreams; 4. All Night Long; 5. Blue Me Down; 6. Absolute Zero; 7. Drama Queen; 8. No Money Down; 9. Reunion Song; 10. Small Wonder; 11. Tread Lightly.
Personnel: William Woods: Piano; Regis Branson: Keyboards, Bass; Vincent Henry, Mark Friedman: soprano saxophone; Robert DeBellis: alto saxophone; Bernard Davis: Drums.