Powell - Cool Like That
can one attract listener's attention for a new contemporary jazz
release nowadays? First of all don't copy yourself and your fellow
musicians of the smooth jazz genre. Be unique and inventive. Don't be
predictable. Doc Powell knows his craft. He played with many icons of
the R&B elite, Aretha Franklin, Teddy Pendergrass, Jeffrey
Osborne, Ashford & Simpson, Dionne Warwick and cjazz greats,
Grover Washington Jr., Bob James, McCoy Tyner, Roy Hargrove, Marcus
Miller, Patrice Rushen and more. So did he avoid this trap of repetition?
The answer is an overwhelming
"Yes". Doc Powell isn't fixed on one style. "My goal
was simple this time, just make a groove-oriented record that people
could snap their fingers to. The title track was the first song I
worked on and it set the tone for the entire album." Push
begins like a common smooth jazz guitar track but quickly Doc
Powell reveals his artistry on acoustic guitar. Kirk Whalum's sax play
let's your ears ring.
Cool Like That
reminds of George Benson's style during his best time especially when
Doc Powell is scatting along while he is playing guitar.
The first time I heard
Listen Up I was brooding about where I already had heard that
track. This tune is radio-like. Mark Ledford on trumpet and Michael
Lington on sax adds the right brass flavor.
No it's not Kenny G. who 's playing the sax part but Ron Brown. Doc
Powell's acoustic guitar is very smooth and sugared like a sweet
cherry. This tune is a dedication to his mother ("the sweetest
person in the world"). You did understand?
Soul Cry Out
is one of these tunes on which Doc Powell plays all instruments.
Guitar, strings, piano and percussion.
A reminiscence to the Beatles is Let
It Be. Powell's hip hop version is perfectly accompanied by
Michael Bereal on Wurlitzer piano. With this humming along the song
gets a certain gospel character.
You Mean More
To Me is featuring Gary
Taylor. Known as the "Master of the Quiet Storm," Gary
Taylor played as a bassist sideman on several albums during the
1960s,'70s and '80s. He also wrote for Anita Baker and a lot others.
He has released seven albums: GT, Compassion (1987), Take
Control (1991), Square One (1993), The Mood Of Midnight
(1995), Love Dance (1998) and Under the Nightlight
(2001). One can classify this song as Adult Soul with an instrumental
The African flavored Hatujambo
is featuring the Moroccan drums of Munyungo Jackson. "The tune
reflects the story of a slave ship coming across the ocean, with drums
as the means of personal communication", says Powell. Hatujambo
is a word in Swahili, the Kenyan language. It means "We are
fine." in answer to the question "Hamjambo? "
("How are you all doing?"). I especially like the epic intro
which gives much room to fantasy.
To The East
is an excursion into jazz fusion area. Mark Ledford shines with his
muted trumpet. Very expressive: Reggie
Hamilton's bass solo. Reggie is known for his work as bassist for
many stars like Barbara Streisand, Ricky Martin, Randy Newman, Toni
Braxton, Aaron Neville, Seal, Bette Midler, Kitaro and Michael Bolton.
Reggie has played many different axes over the years, but he now
swears by the Fender Jazz. What a jam!
Let It Be as
a vocal version is showcasing Michael Bereal's wonderful voice.
Michael Bereal is known for his work in the contemporary gospel world
with artists like Donnie McClurkin, Bishop Paul S. Morton Sr. or Mary
Last not least More
To Me finds my special interest. Doc Powell plays besides his
guitar a really phat acoustic bass. Fernando Pullum plays an
underrated part on his muted trumpet. Fernando Pullum a music teacher
at Washington Preparatory High School (LA) played with many jazz
legends including Louie Bellson, Buddy Collette, Wynton Marsalis,
Lionel Hampton, Ernie Andrews, Etta James and Barbara Morrison. He is
also responsible for the horn arrangements of "Muppets from
Doc Powell did it again. A milestone
in contemporary jazz. Top notch music!