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Bassist Harvie S (formerly Harvie Swartz) has made a New Beginning by producing an album that uses a variety of Latin rhythms to enliven what is essentially the sort of smooth Jazz that one must endure on so many radio stations these days. That's not to say there's no substance here; the ensemble plays well together, and Harvie's tunes (he wrote all of them except "African Heartbeat") are not devoid of charm or interest. But everything is scrupulously middle-of-the-road and unadventurous, in spite of guest appearances by tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker ("New Beginning," "From the Ashes"), trumpeter Ray Vega ("Luna Romantica," "From the Ashes") and guitarist Haru Takauchi ("Mothership"). As one would expect from any album with a Latin substructure, percussionist Renato Thoms plays an important role, and he and drummer Adam Weber keep the rhythm percolating while Harvie's resonant bass lends the music its unwavering pulse. Harvie's "Bright Moment" is especially enticing, thanks in part to excellent work by Thoms and pianist Daniel Kelly. The steady "Heartbeat" was written by violinist Gregor Huebner who adds a brief but amiable solo, although he's not listed as one of the performers on that particular track. "Mothership" marks the most radical departure from the ordinary, with a number of special effects undergirding its brash rhythmic makeup while Huebner and guitarists Takauchi and Bruce Arnold provide some further ethereal touches. This is Eye Contact's second CD; the first, Havana Mañana, we're told in the liner notes, received "rave reviews." And so might this one, as anyone's response to music is, after all, a matter of opinion, and one listener's trash may be another's treasure. To our ear, New Beginning lies somewhere in between; others must appraise its worth by listening for themselves.
Contact: www.cdbaby.com; www.amazon.com; www.mp3.com/Harvie S
Track Listing: New Beginning; En la Batalla; Chump Change; Luna Romantica; African Heartbeat; A Bright Moment; From the Ashes; Tres Mundos; Mothership (60:48).
Personnel: Harvie S, acoustic bass; Bruce Arnold, guitar; Daniel Kelly, piano; Adam Weber, drums; Renato Thoms, percussion; Gregor Huebner (3, 4, 5, 9), violin. Special guests ? Michael Brecker (1, 7), tenor sax; Ray Vega (4, 7), trumpet; Haru Takauchi (9), guitar.
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com