In 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’sHammond 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 most definitely deserves an encore performance in the near future, recommended! 



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