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A mixture of smooth and hip hop issued under the name of jazz, Gerald Veasley's album for the Heads Up label is a combination of pablum and sedative. If your lucky, it will put you to sleep before it drives you crazy with boredom, because each track is virtually indistinguishable from every other track. No dynamics here and each tune is performed in that seamless, stream of consciousness manner that seems to characterize this musical style. In sum, it doesn't swing. Veasley has gathered saxmen Eric Marienthal and Grover Washington, wearing his smooth jazz hat, to contribute to the proceedings. They really don't add much of anything to the album. In fact, one can barely pick them out of the melange of electronic instrumentation. Even though there are different performers on virtually every track except for Veasley, they sound interchangeable. As expected, there's much electronic gimmickry with Veasley's six string electric bass, keyboards, drum programming, etc. By the way, the last tune "Wish You Were Here" is not Harold Rome's tune made popular by Eddie Fisher. The one on this play list is by Veasley.
One can't argue that this isn't pretty music and will appeal to those who like this nondescript musical foray. But for those who like some rhythmic variety and intelligence along with beauty, forget it.
Track Listing: Facing West; Optimistic; Valdez in the Country; Spirit Walk; Hypnotize; Reachin' Out; Everblue; Love Letter; Be Sweet; Wish You Were Here
Personnel: Gerald Veasley - Six String Bass/Keyboards/Drum Programming/Guitar; Michael Aharon - Piano; Ron Kerber - Alto Sax; Bill Jolly- Keyboards/Drums/Rhythm Arrangements; Pablo Batista, Stephan Maass - Percussion; John Anthony- Caxixi/Cymbal Rolls; Grover Washington, Jr., Chris Farr - Soprano Sax; Fred Cooper, Richard Lee Steacker - Guitar; Leonard "Doc" Gibbs - Percussion; Richard Waller III - Keyboards/Drums/Percussion; Chieli Minucci - Guitar/Keyboards/Drum Programming; Eric Marienthal - Alto Sax; Leslie Burrs - Alto Flute; Mark Knox - Keyboard/String Arrangement
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.