Every few years jazz seems to develop a new sub-genre. If smooth jazz wasn't smooth enough it's spawned a evil twin: "chill." What makes it chill is that the songs are locked into one long groove with little to no soloing or improvisation.
Chill is for those people who feel smooth jazz is too raucous, and Urban Sessions makes for perfect background music. The vocalists are pretty non-descript. There is an experienced rhythm section in veteran sidemen Steve Gadd and Will Lee. One wonders if they enjoyed their European vacation. There's a little trip-hop there and some electronica here, but none of it makes much of an impression.
Mix two American studio pros with three British-based black vocalists, throw in a Italian pianist/producer, and what do you get? An album that is so busy straddling categories that it forgets to find its own individual voice. The music on this album falls into the category of "not quite." It's not quite jazz and it's not quite soul. It's not quite hip-hop and it's not quite terrible. It's just not anything that stands out as distinctive, memorable or deserving of repeated listenings. This is drab, desolate, anonymous machine music.
Sunlightsquare is primarily the brainchild of keyboardist and producer Claudio Passavanti, who wrote all the songs. While they're pleasant enough, it's doubtful he planned on creating aural wallpaperbut that's what this is. This kind of music knows its audience and they will probably find this kind of tepid stuff perfectly acceptable. Real jazz fans will crave fare a bit more substantial.
Did you ever get on a elevator and hear piped-in muzak of a catchy pop tune, then find yourself humming along despite yourself? Once the elevator reaches your floor, you're not going to stay on it to finish hearing the song. You're going to get off and go about your business. That's what this album is like. You might find yourself humming along or tapping a toe, but an hour later you won't remember a thing.
Track Listing: From the Cosmos; Nu Bossa; Summer Night; Never Felt So Good; Dub-o-matic; Mr. Reeves Remix; Bust A Freakin' Goal; Ab Three; Wicked; Lively Kind Frozen Poem.
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.