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Carol Duboc: Smile

C. Michael Bailey By

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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 Lober—and 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.

Track Listing: Elephant; Smile; Unpredictable; Telepathy; Atmosphere; Parachute; Behind a Kiss; Gliding; Nobody Knows; Mythological.

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.

Title: Smile | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Gold Note Music


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