today’s contemporary jazz climate as
we know it is slowly evolving beyond the doormat of the radio friendly
smooth genre market. Currently
new and many times old faces are attempting to rekindle
they’re relationship with creativity and innovation
therefore, nudging their way forward bypassing the scope of
norm in the music business in order to achieve they’re goal. In this
new season “Jazz Rosco” makes his appearance, featuring smooth
jazz keyboardist Roger Smith who’s the guiding
force behind his new project titled “Rosco’s Place”. Smith
gives listeners a glance at a fresh alternative as they approach
the New Year searching for new and exciting music in the independent
jazz market place.
The Players: Roger
Smith - Hammond B3, Dave Garibaldi – drums and Ray Obiedo – guitar
with help from Mike Kirkhouse – bass, Steve Self- drums, Mick
Valentine – guitar Mike McKinnon – bass. By Produced Roger Ray Smith Music, BMI © 2004
First of all, let’s set the record straight “Rosco’s Place” is
a live recording with all original music penned by Roger Smith
& co-written by band members. The band sours out of the
starting blocks with a monster groove titled “Good
Question”. Roger and the gang fueled with turbo charged
funk driven energy makes this more then your ordinary appetizer,
that’s most definitely lip smacking, hand-clapping and foot stomping
satisfying with each beat!
Ray-O’s Bounce is exactly as titled; (penned by Smith & Obiedo)
the groove is tight and without a doubt environmentally friendly.
Guitarist Obiedo struts is stuff with his tasty guitar licks
calling upon his mates Garibaldi and Smith. The trio plus one
(McKinnon) holds down the set with a toe tapping and head-bopping
groove with passionate authority.
Jazz Rosco switches gears with a down-tempo flavor titled “All
About You” in the 3rd spot. Smith’s “Hammond
B3” processors would be proud of his playing here; his stylings
are laden with a language that is melodically provocative with tailor
made complex harmonies to boot.
Preface to Insanity moves forward with an intense the level of energy at
“Rosco’s Place”. After all the excitement of the opening
of the track (Good Question) Smith & the boyz break
it down with that old school flavor Jimmy Smith swinging style.
Guitarist Mick Valentino slides in showcasing his skills with
inspiring runs. While Roger Smith’s burns effectively with
the Hammond B3 as he swings on set with probing solos that would
indeed make legends like Sir Charles Earland happy!
Smith and band serves up a seriously funkified groove called
“Five Alive” co-written by bassist Mike McKinnon. The
“Tower of Power” fueled groove layered with funky chops
enhanced by sure nuff Hammond B3 groovin’ over the top
accents the track. The following cut “Sloppy Joe’s” calls
upon a different lineup of musicians featuring Steve Self and Mick
Valentine. This piece falls into the sequence of the funk laced
grooves as “Five Alive”; apparently the party never
stops at Rosco’s Place.
The band in while in overdrive steps in knee deep with a joint called “Cape
Town Jump” co-written by Smith, McKinnon & Obiedo.
The gifted quartet blends fluid rhythms and grooves
that aren’t polished nonetheless seamlessly shaken and well
stirred diving straight to the core of this groovin’ jam.
Keyboardist Roger Smith pens
the next track “Armadillo Race”, this
tune that lights
up the joint rocking the house at Rosco’s
Place. This lively
set of great music unfortunately comes to end with this track. No need
to worry, I’m sure the next visit to
Rosco’s Place will
be just as fulfilling musically with fiery solos which emphasizes
great musicianship by the esteem players called Jazz
Rosco. As I hear it “Rosco’s Place” is a welcome addition to any
music collection. Roger Smith/Jazz Rosco has
indeed accomplished his mission with this venture and
deserves an encore performance in the near future,