Is there a listening market for adult contemporary music. For lack of a better categorization, that is what Carol Duboc provides on her seventh release, the all-original Smile which she co-produces with Keyboardist Jeff Loberand produce they do.
Smile is sonically, a perfectly quaffed and lushly presented collection of ten hook-filled, expertly sculpted songs that take as much from late Stevie Wonder, Anita Baker and Sade as it does Miles Davis and fellow Kansas City-ians Charlie Parker and Count Basie. This is music for grown-ups, like that of Louise Van Aarsen-Koopman , dealing less with "You go to my head and you linger like a haunting refrain..." and more, "The story's been told / this love's mythological."
Smile sports some expert musicianship. The Yellowjackets' bassist Jimmy Haslip bubbling ripple gives these pieces their contemporary flavor while Hubert Laws provides de rigueur winds where necessary. Guitarist Michael Thompson plays his best George Benson on "Unpredictable" and "Atmosphere." Necessarily central to this recording is Duboc's exceptional voice whose balance is well-distributed throughout her range. There is no weakness in her voice; Duboc easily commands her songs (as would be expected) and proves to be a fine songwriter within this genre. Her instrument so perfectly dances with her accompaniment that it would be difficult to find a better adult contemporary offering this year.
Personnel: Carol Duboc: vocals; Jeff Lorber: keyboards, guitar (4); Tim Carmon:
piano (7); Vinnie Colaiuta: drums; Michael Thompson: guitars; Brian
Bromberg: upright bass; Jimmy Haslip: electric bass; Hubert Laws: flute; Luis Conte: percussion.
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.