With his smooth jazz quartet and invited guests, guitarist Royce Campbell tackles the sweet genre with this program of his own compositions. Melodies float around the room, leisure-time rhythms provide a comfortable setting, and the session's harmony remains consistently pure. Campbell's smooth jazz isn't the kind that puts you to sleep, though. He splits the selections on Right Now! between mellow romps and soulful, grooving kickers. The name he has chosen for his quartet is quite appropriate.
The guitarist's fluid articulation fits comfortably into the groove that his band has created, and he sends each melody along with an enjoyable swing. Flute, saxophone and trumpet join him for specified selections in order to broaden the session's melodic patterns. It works. This enjoyable session fills the smooth jazz role while grooving with a soulful ambience. Meanwhile, the band's improvised action pumps adventure into several tracks for added thrills.
"Sweetener, which struts with a funk attitude, stands out as the session's high point. Tenor saxophonist Skip Gailes and trumpeter Keith Willingham join Campbell on a piece that could be interpreted as an homage to Stanley Turrentine's "Sugar, since its powerful groove nudges so convincingly. The leader's guitar adds a wah-wah effect throughout that provides a unique spirit. "Night Fest grabs hold of Latin jazz for its thrill, and guitar, flute and soprano sax provide an enjoyable ride through the park.
This mellow and light album represents a wave of jazz's evolutionary process. Since the music is mostly comfortable and laid-back, with the kind of easygoing soloing that seldom works up a sweat, it appeals to listeners who simply want to take a break. As long as the music remains heartfelt and genuinelike Campbell'sit fits under the large umbrella that the jazz world has built. So sit back, chill out, and enjoy the mood while it lasts.
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