(Verve – 2001)
by Ray Redmond
What do Kenny G, the late Art Porter and Dave Koz all have in common? The first recordings by those saxophonists were all produced by keyboardist and composer Jeff Lorber. Crush is Elliot’s first album away from EMI, and it is a long overdue meeting of the musical minds of these smooth jazz pioneers. Elliot’s no neophyte, and Lorber is not a producer here, but fans of both will rejoice as the legendary keyboardist co-wrote and plays on four of the tracks, and he is smokin’.
The CD also features such talented performers as Paul Jackson, Jr., Jonathan Butler, Lenny Castro, Jeff Golub, Greg Phillingaines, Siedah Garret and many more. Smooth jazz fans will not be disappointed by the mix of tunes on this release, many of which are sure to pop up on the radio.
Surprisingly, the weak side of this 10-track Elliot joint are the two tunes produced by the ubiquitous Paul Brown. Both are vocal tracks, one by Jonathan Butler and one by Sue Ann Carwell, both are sweet and smooth, but both are rather plain and plainly written trying for a crossover hit. Other than that, there’s a cool cover of the Motown/Jr Walker hit, Shotgun, and some really nice smooth jazz including my favorite, Q.T.. Not a breakthrough release, but a good addition to the library.