Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Earl, I must apology for blogging about your latest album The Spice of Life months after Koch Records released it. I asked a salesperson at Street Corner Record where I purchased it if he’d listened to the album, or heard any reviews. He endorsed it, commenting that it’s eclectic. Shortly, after I bought The Spice of Life I planned to review it, but I got sidetracked. Man, I’ve been busy writing articles and concert reviews.

I had to perform major surgery on a piece I wrote about alto saxophonist Larry Smith’s comeback after being away from the jazz scene for five years because he suffered two strokes. My editor disliked my first draft. So I rewrote it. Are you hip to Smith? I’m certain you are. To his fans and peers, Smith is be bop pioneer saxophonist Charlie Parker’s heir apparent. Man, what a compliment.

Anyway, Earl, I’m finally ready to offer may take of The Spice of Life, your 31st album. Congratulation! Before I start, I have to level with you. I’m not what you may consider a Smooth Jazz enthusiast, although I like saxophonist Randy Scott, keyboardist Al McKenzie and flutist Alexander Zonjic.

Lately, I’ve been more receptive to Smooth Jazz. At heart, I’m still a red blooded jazz purist, but I started paying more attention to Smooth jazz after I heard saxophonist Everett Harp and keyboardist Bobby Lyle years ago at the Idlewild Jazz Festival.

I never knew Smooth jazz musicians could swing so hard. I was pleasantly shocked. Earl, forgive me for not getting to the point. I thoroughly enjoyed The Spice of Life. The album is mostly cuddling music, music that’ll unwind you.

Don’t mistake my description of this album the wrong way. I’m not attempting to tacitly tag your album elevator music. That’s not what I’m trying to convey. The album is uncomplicated, and easy listening. At certain points of this album, however, I felt the urge to snap my fingers and pat my feet. Mostly I was completely relaxed like I slipped on a warm robe.

Earl, I disagree with the salesperson assessment that the album is eclectic. You established a comfortable groove, and stayed on course. I looking forward to experiencing you live November 7th at Orchestra Hall.
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