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Now, here is a much underrated artist Ray Obeido, who has a handful of truly excellent albums out on Windmill Jazz. Sticks and Stones is a mixture of that wonderful Lee Ritenour sound from his Rio Funk album from the 1980s.
Ray Obeido teams up with the Carribean Project man Andy Narell to offer us a delightful smooth summer album full of instrumentation and percussion. In some parts it suggests early Steps Ahead with Mike Manieri, Eliane Elias, Eddie Gomez and the superb jazz drumming of Peter Erskine.
Ray's playing is similar in many ways to that of Doc Powell, Earl Klugh and the one and only Rit. The interesting emphasis for me is his interplay with saxman Norbert Stachel and the predominant bass licks of Benny Rietveld.
Norbert Stachel is also an accomplished flautist and demonstrates his versatility on the bossa stunner called "Brasileiro." Obviously Ray is like so many before him and was influenced by Jobim. "Gabrielle" could have been recorded by the great man on his Tide or Wave offerings and is played so beautifully by the rhythm section along with the predominant (yet background) vocals of the chorus called Pastiche.
It is hard to pick out any "precious jewels in this 24 carat crown," but for me the track that tips the scales worthy of special note is "True or False" featuring the Kenny G soprano sax soundalike (and greatly featured here) Norbert Stachel. This cut is all that is so intriguing about the Latin fusion mixture of South American salsa, bossa nova and the calypso.
Ray Obeido's albums are all wonderful. All feature a mixture of excellent session men and some genuine household names such as Luis Conte and Andy Narell. His acoustic guitar playing has a touch of Earl Klugh around every corner, yet consistently takes us on more of a musical adventure than any Klugh album would. Definitely an album for those sultry summer nights on the veranda with your friends, sipping Martinis and 'Talkin' Jazz.'
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.