325

Bob Baldwin: NewUrbanJazz.com

Jeff Winbush By

Sign in to view read count
NewUrbanJazz.com isn't just a clever album title, it's a web address and marketing tool where keyboardist Bob Baldwin streams jazz online for listeners looking for their contemporary jazz fix. Baldwin's site joins other Internet sites and satellite radio as replacements for terrestrial radio stations in San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia and other cities that have abandoned the smooth jazz format.

As the smooth jazz format seems to be reliant on 20-year-old Sade songs and waiting for the next Kenny G to come along and revive the flagging format, Baldwin is thinking ahead and looking back to the days when radio was the source for something more adventuresome. More jazz fans are embracing the internet as the medium to bypass radio conglomerates and their timid, tepid programming.

NewUrbanJazz.com is like a Valentine's Day card from Baldwin to the radio days of the late '70s and early '80s. Baldwin fondly looks back at a time when musical genres weren't so stratified, and New York disc jockeys and night clubs set trends instead of following them.

Over 70 minutes in length, Baldwin alternates between bouncy beats ("Jeep Jazz," "She's All That" "It Is What It Is," "Third Wind"), old school soul ("Somebody Else's Guy," "Too Late," "Natural Thing") and neo-hip-hop ("Seems Like One of Those Daze," "Don't Keep Me Waiting").

Hip-hop and jazz sometimes make for uneasy bedfellows, and the album might have benefited from more of the latter and less of the former. Baldwin might have considered a "less is more" approach, as the album does drag a bit toward the end. This might be in part because the younger vocalists/rappers are not yet as accomplished as the old school guest soloists, which include Jocelyn Brown, Phil Perry, and Freddie Jackson.

Baldwin gets major mileage from a trio of guest saxophonists—(Najee, Marion Meadows and Joey Sommerville)—and a full horn section on the tribute, "Joe Zawinul." This production was clearly a labor of love, and Baldwin's own playing on keyboards, piano and other instruments is strong and passionate throughout.

NewUrbanJazz.com is virtually a throwback to rock n' roll concept albums like Pink Floyd's The Wall (Columbia, 1979). The theme here isn't one of alienated youth and jaded rock stars, it's kicking back as a long hot day comes to an end, with the prospect of a chilled-out night full of cool grooves and good times.

Fans of the smooth jazz radio format are waking up to find their favorite stations flipping formats to talk and classic rock like pancakes at IHOP. Going even softer than smooth jazz with the chill format is merely delaying the inevitable end. NewUrbanJazz.com may or may not be The Next Big Thing, but at least Baldwin's approach is proactive, not reactive.

Track Listing: Jeep Jazz; Third Wind; My Cherie Amour; Somebody Else's Guy; Take My Hand; Seems Like One of Those Daze; She's All That!; Too Late; All Nite; It Is What It Is; Natural Thing; Flying High; Joe Zawinul; Don't Keep Me Waiting; New Urban Jazz.

Personnel: Bob Baldwin: piano, keyboards, Rhodes, bass, percussion, vocals; Zolea Ohizep: vocals, backing vocals (1, 8); Dennis Johnson: drums, keyboards, bass; Joey Sommerville: trumpet, flugelhorn; Tony Clarke: shakers, tambourine (2); Najee: saxophone (3); Jocelyn Brown: vocals (4); Annette E. Brown: vocals (4); Ragan Whiteside: flutes, vocals (5); Tyrone Iris: vocals (6, 11); Marion Meadows: saxophone (7); Phil Perry: vocals (8); Toni Redd: vocals, backing vocals (10, 12); Freddie Jackson: vocals (11); Frank McComb: background vocals, scat vocal, synth solo (12); Ike Stubblefield: organ (13); Chuck Bithorn: percussion (13); Adam Mewherter: trombone (13); Gordon Vernick: trumpet (13); Deji Coker: tenor sax (13); ASoulBorn: lead vocals (14); Della Croce: lead rap vocal (15).

Title: NewUrbanJazz.com | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Nu Groove Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jul27Sat
Bob Baldwin, Lori Williams
City Winery
Atlanta, GA
Aug29Thu
Bob Baldwin w/ Lori Williams
Yoshi's Oakland
Oakland, CA
$27

Related Articles

Read Time Gone Out Album Reviews
Time Gone Out
By Troy Dostert
July 24, 2019
Read First Nature Album Reviews
First Nature
By Mark Corroto
July 24, 2019
Read Leap of Faith Album Reviews
Leap of Faith
By Friedrich Kunzmann
July 24, 2019
Read Crepuscule In Nickelsdorf  Album Reviews
Crepuscule In Nickelsdorf 
By Glenn Astarita
July 24, 2019
Read Czech Wishes Album Reviews
Czech Wishes
By Troy Dostert
July 23, 2019
Read More Arriving Album Reviews
More Arriving
By Gareth Thompson
July 23, 2019
Read Wschod Album Reviews
Wschod
By Don Phipps
July 23, 2019