If ever a title captured the mood of an album, this is it. Take Your Shoes Off, Cray's latest release from Ryko, is a bit of a departure from what we might expect from Robert and his band. The album flows effortlessly from beginning to end, allowing us to listen to it in it's entirety; a true phenomenon these days. The track list here, as the title suggests, is composed mostly of bright melodic tunes, but that's not to say Cray's guitarwork should be taken lightly. His playing is, in fact, superior to past recordings. Perhaps most impressive, however, is Cray's voice, and the exuding confidence felt throughout. His lyrics, while they may not be profound, display a subtle sensitivity that doesn't conflict with that gutsy groove which, over the years, we've come to expect from Cray and his band. The standout tracks are too numerous to mention, so I'll just say that Cray's latest release is a big breath of fresh air and not to be missed. This one really shines.
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.