Carmen Cuesta




Peace of Mind

Everybody in the Smooth Jazz scene knows Chuck Loeb. But do you know that he has a wonderful wife and that she is an artist too? Carmen's domain is the interface between R & B and jazz. Originally coming from Spain she met the who is who in the Smooth Jazz genre like Grover Washington Jr., Michael Franks, Gato Barbieri, Peabo Bryson, Earl Klugh, Jim Hall, Till Brönner and Fessler. Will Lee, Michael Brecker, Peter Erskine, Dave Weckl or Mitchel Forman are members of the band, when she performs in NY. So it's not unusual that some of these greats are accompanying Carmen at her new album Peace of Mind.

The speciality of this album is every song presents one outstanding artist of the contemporary jazz scene. So the album gets a high musicaly quality even for the jazz purists.

The first track Paralelo featured Bill Evans with impressing skills on his soprano sax. Carmen swings in a modern way. I especially like the flute part, which was probably added  by Chuck Loeb.

La Bossa de Kris is a tune with a Brazilian mood. Toots Thielemans' harmonica is yearning causing goose bumps.

I know Endless is Love by Jon Lucien. Now one can listen to the interpretation of the songwriter herself. Carmen 's voice charmed perfectly. Chuck Loeb's acoustic guitar adds masterly the Spanish flavor.

The synth intro of Peace of Mind is reminding at Jan Hammers' Crockett's Theme, but the last third  features Till Brönner on trumpet with a light jazzy impact. Overall I would count the title song more to the Pop genre. Nevertheless a good song with hit quality.

Bells sets you in a romantic sentimental mood. The right love song for Christmas time.

Shape of my Heart, an old Sting song from his album Ten Summoner's Tales (1993) already impressed Chuck Loeb, who played it on his album Simple Things (1994). Carmen's vocal version is a true gem. The song is really written for her. No one else than Bob James adds his moody piano play.

Walk finds my full respect. The melody, the chorus-line, the arrangement, the musicians, all is music on high level. 

Lou Marini, the master on flute, is the featured artist at Too Fast. Chuck Loeb is an insider of the music scene. He knows that Lou was the member of the legendary groups The Blues Brothers and Blood, Sweat & Tears. He also  played with Aerosmith, Patti Austin, Richard Tee or John Tropea. The tender glaze of his flute is even able to surpass Carmen' s voice.

Skillfully, Chuck adopts the mood of this flute also into the following piece Te Perdi. A Spanish love song, his sweetness encourages to learn this language. 

We will never forget George Harrison, the Beatle, who stood in the shadows of the musical giants Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Unforgetable his songs and his lyrical playing like Taxman, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something, or My Sweet Lord. Dying to soon by brain cancer Here Comes the Sun remains an homage and a memorial to this hero of music history.

Tears of Joy showcases Dave Mann's mastership on Soprano Sax. An awesome finisher. But don't take the cd too quick from the turntable! There is a twelfth piece on this album. Starting after two minutes of silence the surprised listener hears a child's voice singing. Will Chuck reveal the secret of this new star?*)

Skip Records has found a diamond. Adherents of Smooth Jazz with an affinity for female vocals will adore this album. This album is definetely to discover for the American music market.




The musicians:
  • Carmen Cuesta - Vocals
  • Bill Evans - Soprano Sax (1)
  • Will Lee - Bass (1,3,4,6,7,8)
  • Wolfgang Haffner - Drums (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8)
  • Mike Ricchiuti - Keyboards (1,2,3,4,6,7,8,11)
  • Chuck Loeb - Guitars and Programming (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11), Keyboards (5,6,8,10), Harmonica (10), Synth Flute (9)
  • Toots Thielemans - Harmonica (2)
  • Till Brönner - Trumpet (4)
  • Tim LeFebvre - Bass (2,5)
  • Bob James - Piano (6)
  • David Charles - Percussion (2,5,6,7,8,9,11)
  • Lou Marini - Alto Flute
  • Mark Egan - Bass (8,11)
  • Dave Mann - Soprano Sax (11)
  • Mitchel Forman - Keyboards (11)
  • Vinnie Colaiuta - Drums (11)


  • More informations about this album here: (German review)


  • The album is available here:


*)Chuck Loeb reveals the secret behind the twelth track:

That is our daughter Lizzy singing at age 7, and our other daughter Christina
playing the flute at age 8. They are 15 and 16 now!
Thanks for paying such strict attention!