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Out of the Blue is the U.S. debut album by Canadian-born guitarist Adam Smale, but Smale hasn't come out of nowhere. In 2000, he released the album Fun City in his home country and received plenty of airplay and critical acclaim and in 2009 he moved to New York and since then he has become a vital addition to the jazz scene in the city.
New York is celebrated on "NYC Love Affair," a cool, swinging tune that sways along with elegant guitar patterns and a groove that goes directly into the blood. Smale is supported by the trio Tri-Fi, which is perhaps best known for their strong backing for singer Curtis Stigers, but they also have their own thing going and here they can be found in perfect sync with the guitarist.
Throughout the album, Smale shows great awareness of jazz tradition. He re-imagines the famous riff from trumpeter Miles Davis' composition "So What" on "New Start," gives an original reading of saxophonist Wayne Shorter's "Yes or No" and on top of it all, he combines the rhythm of saxophonist Charlie Parker's "Confirmation" with the chords from the standard "Autumn leaves" in a bold, but successful experiment called "Autumn Confirmation."
It is a testimony to Smale's unique approach to his instrument that he plays on custom-made seven string-guitars and this isn't a gimmick, but rather reflects his need of being able to express himself fully on his instrument without any limitations.
Out of the Blue marks the arrival of a superb guitar stylist who knows the sound he wants and plays with confidence and awareness of jazz tradition and is able to craft memorable compositions
Track Listing: New Start; Blues To Yous; Yes and No; Jazzenco; Night Drive; She Knows
Me; Autumn Confirmation; NYC Love Affair; Original Sin.
Personnel: Adam Smale: guitar; Matthew Fries: piano: Phil Palombi: bass; Keith
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.