In our adult-denigrating society, I always cringe whenever I encounter an album that's "for the children." Like books in which the authors claim that part of the proceeds will be donated to charity, it's a certain bet that the there is some defect that the producers are hoping the patina of good will and charity will obviate and make "critic-proof." That is certainly the case here, for this album is a compilation of mostly banal smooth jazz ditties that dull the mind and disengage the spirit.
Gumbs is a talented pianist, to be sure, and I suspected that this CD was forced on him by the record label to attract some nonexistent "crossover" audience; however, since the Ejano label is run by the pianist himself, the damage appears to be self-inflicted. The best that can be said of the CD is that it has the feel of a second-rate Dave Grusin imitator.
Indeed, the title song, "Remember Their Innocence," featuring a melody doubled by single-line guitar and piano, I could have sworn was scene cutaway music from The Fabulous Baker Boys. There are a couple of nice tunes included, however, and the best of the lot is undoubtedly "Sol Brilho," a swinging samba featuring guitarist Romero Lumbambo of Trio da Paz and the ever reliable alto saxophonist Sadao Watanabe.
Other featured artists include Branice McKenzie, a serviceable singer who does a decent job on the torch song "Maybe Next Year" that has changes similar to those of "How Long Has This Been Going On?". Eddie Allen presents a nice straight-ahead trumpet solo on "Innerchange."
Track Listing: Prologue; Healing Zone; Remember Their Innocence; Sol Brilho (Sunshine of Dreams); Innerchange; Maybe Next Year; All I Hear (Quiet Passion); Virgo Rising; Crystal Images; You Just Don't Know; Playtime; Shadowlight; Your Love; Epilogue.
Personnel: Onaje Allan Gumbs (piano, keyboards), Roger Byam (tenor and soprano saxophone), Kenny Davis (bass), Billy Kilson (drums), Larry Argese (acoustic guitar), Sadao Watanabee (alto saxophone), Romero Lubambo (acoustic guitar), Gregoire Maret (harmonica), Caf
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.