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Album Review

Brian Simpson: Out of A Dream


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Brian Simpson: Out of A Dream
Some records not only desire your attention, they demand it. Think of Miles or Trane or Mingus and think of just puttering around the house as the music plays. It can't be done. The grandmasters of jazz made music that required it be heard and not merely listened to.

Out of A Dream is not one of those records. In fact, it really would prefer if you went on with doing laundry, peeling potatoes, or organizing your socks in the drawer. Brian Simpson has perfected the formula for how to make easy listening real easy. Follow the Simpson Steps to Smooth Jazz Success and before long you two can create the musical equivalent of McDonald's french fries: bland, but tasty, even if the 15th fry is indistinguishable from the fifth.

Step One: Invite a lot of your friends over to drop in and noodle a few notes. Simpson called up Dave Koz, Najee, Maysa, Mark Antonie, Grace Kellyand Norman Brown and they came running to do what they do.

Step Two: Flit like a firefly from one style to another but commit to none of them. This will demonstrate your versatility if not necessarily your commitment to any of them. Out of A Dream runs the gamut from airy ballads, ("Her Eyes"), shuffling Samba, ("San Lorenzo"), Brazilian rhythms ("Rio Sway") and straight-up smoothed out R n'B ("One of A Kind). As a pianist, composer and producer, Simpson has figured out how to always use the right tool for the job.

Step Three: Keep it short. Out of A Dream punches the clock at an economical 42:37 with none of its ten tracks pushing past five minutes and the soloing is kept to a bare bones minimum. This way every track is in-out-done before it can become annoying. Unfortunately, this works against Simpson on the last track "Nightfall" where Maurice Brown's trumpet and Derek Douget's tenor sax push the proceedings into a more traditional, straight-ahead territory and it actually swings before it dribbles away into oblivion.

If you're a fan of non-invasive jazz this is perfect background music: pretty and pleasant without ever being memorable. As the last notes drift away Out of A Dream fades quickly out of mind.

Track Listing

One of A Kind, Out of A Dream, When I Say Your Name, Sky Watcher, Just One Wish, San Lorenzo, Let's Get Away, Rio Sway, Her Eyes, Nightfall


Brian Simpson: piano, keyboards, Fender Rhodes; Grace Kelly: alto sax (1); Nils: guitar; Alex Al: bass; Oliver Brown: percussion; Ricky Lawson: drums; Najee: flute (2); Darrell Crooks: guitar; Darryl Williams: bass, programming; Scott Simpson: additional drums; Dave Koz: tenor sax (3); Brian Kilgore: percussion; Jay Williams: drums; Ryan Farish: guitar, keyboards, programming; Norman Brown: guitar solo (5); Mark Antoine: guitar, bass, programming, percussion (6); Steve Alaniz: tenor sax, flute; Oliver Wendell: keyboards; Yarone Levy: guitar; Michael White: drums; Jonathan Fritzen: keyboards, programming (9); Maurice Brown: trumpet; Derek Douget: tenor sax

Album information

Title: Out of A Dream | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Shanachie Records

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