Smooth jazz is comprised of blended sounds, hummable melodies, fluid embellishment, and a steady comfortable one-two-three-four beat. In the same way that the music fades in and out to create 3- to 4-minute excerpts, the listener’s attention tends to come and go. Thus, smooth jazz finds a home wherever and whenever folks want relaxing background music that suits their purpose. Saxophonist Ed Calle includes electronic sounds from bass & keyboard synths, programmed and mechanical drum patterns, and background vocals to support a session made up mostly of his own compositions. Opting for tenor sax on most tracks, Calle’s third release as a leader places him before the ensemble to float a melody while the others blend. Born in Venezuela, raised there and in Spain, schooled in Miami, and learning while working with Gloria Estefan and The Miami Sound Machine, the saxophonist credits many influential sources, including Michael Brecker and Grover Washington, Jr. More biographical information about the artist may be found at A HREF="http://www.edcalle.com">http://www.edcalle.com .
Guests include Arturo Sandoval, who performs a brief bullfight trumpet cameo on "San Sebastian." The piece is a stirring Spanish composition that features the acoustic guitar of Rene Luis Toledo alongside the leader’s tenor saxophone. Calle plays soprano sax on two tunes: "Home Again" and "Sunset Harbor." Guest pianist Jim Gasior provides a lovely interlude on the sweeping "Marianne," which resembles a comfortable folk tune. Paquito Hechavarria’s percussive Afro-Cuban piano interlude on "Rum & Coke" stirs things up a bit, as does the Latin beat of "Sunset Harbor." A 14-piece ensemble supports Calle and Hechavarria on "Rum & Coke." The tune and the band light up with an attitude that resembles the classic 1958 Champs song "Tequila." "Colour My World," a hit for the pop/rock band Chicago, is presented tenderly by Calle’s tenor sax with his own alto flute interlude. The laid-back easy-listening atmosphere of all the other tracks is comfortable on the ears but contains very little improvisation to hold one’s interest.
Track Listing: Strollin
Personnel: Ed Calle- soprano sax, alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax, alto flute, EWI, vocals, synthesizer bass; Paquito Hechavarria- acoustic piano; Jim Gasior, Mike Levine, Doug Emery, Steve Roitstein- keyboards, synthesizers; Dan Warner, Lindsey Blair, Rene Luis Toledo, Hiram Bullock, Tommy Anthony- guitar; Julio Hernandez, Rafael Valencia- electric bass; Tim Devine, Lee Levin- drum programming; Richard Bravo- percussion; Sam Levine- triangle; Arturo Sandoval, Tony Concepcion, Jim Hacker, Jason Carder, Alan Hood- trumpet; Dana Teboe, John Hutchison, John Kricker- trombone; Joe Barati- bass trombone; Wendy Pederson, George Noriega, Rita Quintero, Tommy Anthony- vocals.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.