Brian Simpson – It’s All Good
(Rendezvous – 2002)
by Ray Redmond
The title says it all. If Brian Simpson’s debut release on Rendezvous Records is smooth jazz, then it’s a smooth jazz oddity. This CD is full of real, creative, enjoyable music. Not just pleasant, but enjoyable, and every track grooves! Having spent the last eight years as musical director for sax man Dave Koz, you have undoubtedly heard Simpson’s keyboard licks. Don’t listen to much Koz? then try George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Billy Cobham, Larry Carlton, Gerald Albright or Sheena Easton… yeah, you’ve head this cat play.
The title track is the most popular (by the charts) track on the CD, but even the worst track on this CD is better than ALL OF most smooth jazz CD’s. Waiting has some smooth piano work enhanced by the guitar flavor of Marc Antoine and is my personal favorite. Everett Harp makes a sexy appearance on the up tempo I Remember When as does Michael Lington on the urban-tinged And So The Story Goes. And don’t forget Blues for Scott, a straight ahead trio piece that has you foot-tappin… that you feel in your gut. This is some good stuff, man!
This CD does not fit the cookie-cutter mold of smooth jazz. Simpson’s style is smooth, but the music is imbued with a vitality and creative vein that pushes it into the category of jazz that is smooth, rather than just languishing in the smooth jazz stream. Dig it.