Although reedman Bryan Savage doesn't enjoy the same "household name" status in smooth circles as, say, Kenny G, Richard Elliot, or Dave Koz, he probably should, on the strength of recordings such as this. Yes, this CD is smooth jazz all the way, but Savage works the genre as agreeably as anyone. Whether on alto, soprano, or flute, Savage possesses a rich, expressive tone quality and improvises skillfully within the parameters of the tunes. As composer or co-composer of many of the songs, Savage displays the ability to create memorable melodies and sufficiently interesting arrangements. The rhythm tracks are a combination of programming (some by Savage) and live musicians, primarily his core band.
The program is mostly original, but smoothed-out renditions of Bobby Hebb's "Sunny" and Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour" are included to add a familiar touch. (The radio programmers will probably seize these two for their playlists in favor of one of Savage's worthy compositions.) Plus, "Coral Princess" is presented twice, the second time as a "3rd Force Remix", with William Aura providing "grooves and bass" and the remix. For my tastes, I think the remix is clunkier and more mechanical than the original. Thankfully, there are no cloying, saccharine vocals anywhere on the disc. So for those who are into smooth jazz, this tasteful disc is recommended. (Higher Octave Jazz HOJCD 50385)
Personnel: Bryan Savage - alto sax, soprano sax, flute, keyboards, programming; Mark Johnson, Bob Carpenter, John Bergeron - keyboards, programming; Howard Arthur, Burt Teague - guitar; Larry Thompson, John Pel - drums; Dave Hanson, Craig Dobbin - piano; Chris Engleman, David Stoltz, Vernon Barbary - bass; William Aura - grooves, bass.
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me. As a life-long jazz lover, I eventually became a jazz educator and producer/host of a very popular jazz radio program in Los Angeles, California.
I love jazz because it is so free. I can think, feel, and dream to jazz, and it allows my mind to flow and expand, musically and otherwise. I also love jazz because it, much like other forms of music, allows opportunities to bring people from all walks of life together. What makes jazz more significant to me, though, is its historical significance; that is, how jazz served, in part, as a method of bringing communities together, a cultural/social/spiritual conduit.