artist names, cd title, cover art or detailed lists of musician’s on
any given project will sooner or later command your attention. After
seeing the title “Urbanized” I must admit I was a little
apprehensive at first considering all the gimmicks that are used to
sell and promote products. New York based keyboardist,
composer, producer, production specialists Mike Di Lorenzo has
absolutely no tricks, or ulterior motives up his sleeve with his
national debut cd titled “Urbanized”. Lorenzo’s music
contains an atmospheric mix of harmonically fresh grooves and the
textures of contemporaryjazz, Latin, Hip-Hop, Smooth, R&B and
what he calls New York Chill.
Vinnie Cutro ~ trumpet, Bob Malach ~ tenor saxophone, Frank
Valdes ~ percussion, Willy Dalton ~ nylon string guitar, Karl
Latham ~ drums and Mike Di Lorenzo ~ piano, keyboards,
Rhodes and programming, All compositions and Production by Di Lorenzo
except for Stevie Wonders “Too High”… Keep The Groove© 2005
Di Lorenzo steps
out of the gate with a cut titled “City Vibe” featuring his
talented partner and friend Vinnie Cutro on the muted trumpet.
Mike works the programming gear to fabricate an illusive Hammond
B3 sound that further develops into a tight groove that
establishes his presence at the beginning of “Urbanized”.
title of the next track “Loosey Goose” might sidetrack you
just a little bit. This warm and breezy samba features the anointed
horn stylings of world-class musician Bob Malach on tenor and
the timbered percussion flavoring of Frank Valdes. Mike’s piano
solos and phrasings are simply flawless.
title track, features Di Lorenzo on
the piano, Rhodes and keyboards. This track has
an ambient urban vibe and melodies that features percussionist
Valdes. Mike uses
his programming technique to get a flute like sound out of his
keyboard therefore; this concept accents this potentially mesmerizing
tempo of this cd doesn’t vary that much from track to track; however
have no fear because the overall vibe and structure incorporates
inviting rhythms and textures for most smoothjazz & chill music
aficionados to embrace. Case in point, this illusive groove titled
“Severance” is highlighted by the beautiful tonality of
trumpeter Cutro anchored by the lyrical guitar stylings of
Wally Dalton and Valdes colorful percussive and rhythmic beats.
the way, Di Lorenzo serves up only one cover song on the
project titled - “Too High” by the legendary Stevie
Wonder. What really surprises me here is how Di Lorenzo connects
with his own voice on this classic and he deserves major dap
for being creative with this unusual twist to this classic.
in at the 6th spot featuring the talented Bob Malach on
the tenor horn. Again percussionist Frank Valdes presence is
felt once again and throughout “Urbanized”. I dig Di
Lorenzo’s playing style; he should indeed draw well-deserved
attention not only his playing but also his overall composition and
soulful “My Time” by Di Lorenzo showcases his keyboard
wizardry, as he plays all instruments on this selection.
has a hip
techno feel and groove to it. I can imagine some folks may be a little
annoyed by the drum programming, as it seems automated at times.
Trumpeter Cutro and percussionist Vales raise the bar a
few notches by giving this tune a breath of freshness.
love Di Lorenzo’s use of the Rhodes piano, meshed with his
keyboard work is superb. This can be particularly heard on “Motified”,
featuring tenor man Malach and Valdes on the percussion.
Samba” as the
title suggest is a samba. It’s filled with the precise ingredients
that one expects to hear within the confinements of a samba. Di
Lorenzo’s prowess is on target as composer and player he seems
very comfortable in this magical setting.
intrigued by Di Lorenzo’s use of melodies and harmonies
balanced in unison with sonic flavors throughout “Urbanized”. He’s
persistent in this tradition as shown on “After Midnight”, and
why not it works.
the last selection on “Urbanized”. Yes indeed, Di Lorenzo taps
into the fabric of urban landscape for that cool and breezy sound as
he works all instruments on this track. He delivers my favorite flute
sound that’s in sync with a fresh vibe that is certainly catchy with
the right hooks. He may have had radio in mind when he recorded
composer, keyboardist and production specialist Mike Di Lorenzo has
conjured up with “Urbanized “ a near perfect blend of
hypnotically fresh grooves that’s coupled with a rapture of sultry
and relaxing smooth jazz that’s design for those seeking to discover
a new voice called “New
York Chill” from his own unwavering musical