Jazz keyboardist Brian Simpson is best known by his solo albums Closer Still (1995), It's All Good (2005), Above The Clouds (2006), South Beach (2010), Just What You Need (2013), Persuasion (2016), Something About You (2018) and All That Matters (2021) on Shanachie Entertainment.

His new album Soul Connection is just released in June, 2023 on the same label. Brian performs on the new album piano and keyboards.

He is accompanied on selected tracks by Steve Alaniz (sax), Adam Hawley & Caleb Middleton (additional keys), Ray Fuller & Adam Hawley (guitar), Alex Al (bass), Michael White (drums), Ramon Yslas (percussion), Yarone Levy (acoustic guitar), Brian Kilgore (percussion), Steve Oliver (sound programming), Will Gaines (vocals), Lamar Gaines (additional keyboards), Adam Armijo (guitar), Mel Brown (bass), Antonio Gomez (guitar), Aure Ortega (keyboards), and Omari Williams (drums).

The album opens with the sophisticated title song. Brian triggers the perfect melody on the piano, accompanied by the intimate saxophone of Steve Alaniz. Then the song drifts into funk without losing sight of the basic melody.

Out Of The Blue offers no surprises but a solid melody and plenty of atmosphere. Barcelona, the capital of the Catalans, is full of numerous attractions, of which the Sacrada Familia stands out in particular. Yarone Levy on the acoustic guitar delivers some fitting Spanish flavor.

Meadow Breeze paraphrasingly characterizes the softness of the meadow, when it gently sways in the breeze and the scent of lush nature exudes its odeur. Will and Lamar Gaines create See You Again, beautifully performed vocally by Will, with Brian on piano and Adam Armijo on guitar playing their part in the song's magical aura.

Stranger in Paradise is a popular song from the musical Kismet (1953), credited to Robert Wright and George Forrest and covered numerous times. Brian and guitarist Antonio Gomez lovingly take on the familiar tune. The midnight hour and its mysterious atmosphere have often been the subject of smooth jazz. Midnight Mood draws the mood in a skilful musical way.

Until The Break Of Dawn continues this feeling with another moment in time. Through the Tears paraphrases a melancholic emotion with sensitive playing. The last track of an album often reinforces sentimentality. Going Home is no exception.

Brian Simpson's concern is not to write hit one-day flies but songs for eternity. With Soul Connection he has come much closer to this goal.







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Album Information

Title: Soul Connection
Artist: Brian Simpson
Year: 2023
Length: 0:43:04
Genre: General Jazz
Label: Shanachie Entertainment

1) "Soul Connection" (3:32)
2) "Out Of The Blue" (3:48)
3) "Barcelona" (3:45)
4) "Meadow Breeze" (3:56)
5) "See You Again" (3:21)
6) "Stranger In Paradise" (4:21)
7) "Midnight Mood" (4:30)
8) "Until The Break Of Dawn" (3:32)
9) "Through The Tears" (4:39)
10) "Going Home" (3:43)

Further Reviews:

South Beach

It's All Good

Just What You Need