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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jeff Kashiwa: Back In the Day

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Few artists are true trailblazers; most others merely follow in their wake. On Back in the Day, Jeff Kashiwa follows the same contemporary and smooth jazz path taken by many technically competent, but minimally adventurous saxophonists.That may sound like a negative criticism, but it's really not. There have always been jazz musicians whose metier lead them to being solid professionals instead of bold innovators. Back in the Day is the seventh solo album from the former--and sometimes guest--member of The Rippingtons, led by Russ Freeman, and Kashiwa hasn't wandered far from the formula of laying alto, tenor or ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jeff Kashiwa / Kim Waters / Steve Cole: The Sax Pack

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"The Sax Pack," huh? Wonder how long it took to dream up that name?As soon as you see who The Sax Pack is you're either interested or you're not. Between Kim Waters, Jeff Kashiwa and Steve Cole, you have three guys who have been staples of smooth jazz radio for years. They're all seasoned veterans who can be expected to deliver the goods if your idea of “good" is bland background music that isn't going to challenge, surprise or require anything from you.Let's face it: You're not exactly getting A Love Supreme (Impulse!, 1965) out of ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Jeff Kashiwa

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Teachers and/or influences?Leo Potts, saxophone instructor at Cal State Long Beach. Outstanding teacher. Changed my approach to the saxophone. His tonal concepts are with me always. Charlie Shoemake, Jazz improvisation teacher. Clarified jazz harmony for me.I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I heard Chuck Mangione and his band play in Maui during one summer vacation.Your sound and approach to music:I have a melodic approach to playing and let the sound of the sax ring as freely as possible. This allows the tone to be full and expressive.Your ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jeff Kashiwa: Peace Of Mind

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Somebody's missing the point here. I'm almost hoping it's me.

There's clearly a decent market for albums like Peace Of Mind, the fifth solo album by former Rippingtons saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa, since so many of these smooth jazz soundalikes are occupying bin space at music stores. And a small part of me was rooting for this to stand out in the crowd, largely because he's one of a relative handful of players who dabbles at times with a sax-like synthesizer known as an electronic wind instrument--something I've owned and loved for years.

But it just isn't ...



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