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Sandro Albert: The Color of Things (2005)

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Sandro Albert: The Color of Things How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Wow, what an exciting mainstream jazz celebration from guitarist Sandro Albert on his second CD as leader! With woodwind artist Katisse Buckingham serving as his musical partner, and by inviting a little help from several other talented friends, Albert has created a sensational album that should appeal to a wide segment of the jazz listening population.

Unlike much of jazz from these past 25 years or so, The Color of Things includes elements from all the various factions. Often you'll hear a smooth jazz listener complain that so-and-so's music is too heavy and dense. "It won't allow me to relax," she says, as the music keeps everyone on the edge of their seats in the auditorium. At other times, you'll hear a dedicated fan complain that the music is so smooth and serene that it puts her to sleep.

Albert combines the intellectual side of jazz with the part that we admire for its beauty. Both left and right brain hemispheres get satisfied. His harmonies move between consonant and complex. His rhythms run both gentle and intense. Acoustic timbres carry much of the load, while hip, contemporary colors shade the landscape. Melody is never forgotten; Albert's lyrical compositions give us something we can remember. Here's your epitome of a "talent deserving wider recognition."

Robben Ford cameos on "If We Could Dance Now" with a hardy blues connection. You can feel the mambo dancers out on the floor, floating as if made of feathery body parts that are sewn together loosely. Jean Baylor adds wordless vocals that sweep you away to a distant shore for your much-needed vacation. Both guitars converse in a natural manner that belies their lyrical spirit. They're surrounded by organ, upright bass, drums, and transparent percussion. As it should be, the accompaniment is felt, not made overly obvious through their anxiety. The band forms a cohesive unit that flows like a river running wide and deep; it's cool and calm, but with plenty of power embedded within.

The final track, "We Are Alive," summarizes Albert's message. Airto and Frank Marocco lend their unique timbres to that of the piano trio: Edsel Gomez, Mike Valerio, and Jimmy Branly. All together, Sandro Albert and his band create an original session that offers something fine for everyone to appreciate.

Visit Sandro Albert on the web for audio samples.

Track Listing: Message Across the Sea; The Color of Things; They Walk Among Us; Minas to Rio; Choro to Catarina; If We Could Dance Now; Aguas; It Sounds Like Her; Rafaela's Dream; We Are Alive.

Personnel: Sandro Albert: guitar; Katisse Buckingham: soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, flute; Russell Ferrante: keyboards; Edsel Gomez: piano; Mike Valerio: bass; Jimmy Branly: drums; Mark Ledford: trumpet, vocals; Jean Baylor: vocals; Frank Marocco: accordion; Matt Rhode: B3 organ; Luis Conte: percussion; Airto Moreira: percussion, vocals; Tamir Hendelman: piano on "Choro to Catarina;" Robben Ford: electric guitar on "If We Could Dance Now."

Record Label: 215 Music/Munich Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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