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Guitarist Ken Navarro's latest CD, Smooth Sensation , is aptly titled; it's silky-smooth, breezy, and relaxing music with just enough heartfelt feeling and energy to keep it interesting. Navarro's musical style, as well as his crystal-clear tone quality, are similar to that of Earl Klugh. He specializes in likable melodies and sonic textures, and manages to stay creative and not clone-ish. His playing, and that of his band, is spirited and tasteful yet stays within the comfortable boundaries of contemporary jazz – there's no envelope-pushing here.
Saxophonist Eric Marienthal, seemingly omnipresent these days, adds sure-footed blowing to the proceedings. Navarro's regular band of Jay Rowe on keyboards (who also has a decent CD out called Jay Walking ), Gary Grainger on electric bass, and Greg Grainger on drums round out the ensemble.