Stephan Oberhoff - Conversations With My Father


Do you know that  many smooth jazz artists, performing in America, were born in Germany? For example Praful, Michelle Walker, Peter Storn, Nils, Dirk K, William Ackerman and Stephan Oberhoff. Besides this hereditary aspect it's quiet astonishing with which great artists Stephan Oberhoff has already played: Dave Koz, Brenda Russell, Burt Bacharach, Sheila E., Jeffrey Osborne, Joe Vanelli, Michael White, Rayford Griffin, Vinnie Colaiuta, David Benoit, Ricky Lawson, Everette Harp, Ray Fuller, Jimmy Haslip .. I stop here, because you don't want to read a "Who Is Who" or? 

Stephan Oberhoff's debut album "Conversations With My Father" was released in 2003. Somehow the album didn't reach the charts which makes it a bit more difficult to find. Reviewing Brenda Russell's albums "Paris Rain" and "Between The Sun And The Moon" I recognized his name as player, arranger etc. After listening his solo album I can state: "A well-hidden treasury!"

SmoothJazz With A Sharp Stick is the title of the first song and certainly the concentrated headline of this magnificent album. In knowledge of the experience that the first notes can decide about the decision of a listener to buy an album or not Stephan presents us an uptempo tune tight packed with instrumental ideas and influences. There is a prize of Weather Report and the great American cjazz history seems to culminate in one tune. Stephan's piano (keyboards, organ) mastery is breathtaking and fascinating. Wow!!

The gospel-like tune Now That You Have Found Me features Terry Bradshaw's grandiose vocals and Gerald Spikes smooth sax. Terry Bradshaw teams up to the choir with Kimaya Seward and Stephan. Refreshing unusual is the classical bridge performed by Stefanie Fife on Cello. She really plays the Cello like "Casals".

James Harrah's acoustic guitar is sentimentally leading into Conversations With My Father. A moody duet of James and Stephan around a melodious theme. James Harrah is known by his work with Luis Conte, Barry Manilow, Brenda Russell, Dave Stringer, Gregg Karukas, Tracie Spencer and a lot more.

Amistad features Pedro Eustache's inimitable flute play. A fantastic song with Spanish and Oriental flavor. The song is running into various directions. A bit of epic movie score, some Latin flamenco, some romantic mood. Very expressive Melissa Hasin on Cello. Stephan called her as "cello-goddess"! She also performed the solo-cello in one of the Lion King orchestras.

Venezuela was written on the day of the disastrous flooding in Venezuela which occurred coincidentally the day Stephan wrote the piece. Pat Metheny goes Flamenco, jungle percussion, fusion jazz and Gary Meek's sax are crescending to a typical Oberhoff-song.

Soul Falling is presenting Scot Mayo on soprano saxophone. A well-written and arranged tune with a captivating mood.

Trumpet lovers will like the funky Unexpected Move featuring Dennis Farious' muted trumpet. Paul Jackson jr. 's electric guitar is also appearing on this tune. Paul is the most-demanded sideman nowadays. 

Stephan also plays guitar as one can state listening to Just When. Dreamlike how safely he finds the right notes for his compositions. He sets Dennis Farious in the best limelight again. A smooth and silky night song.

On Talking To The Mirror Jimmy Haslip's acoustic bass boosts dark and mighty. I especially like the Latin percussion/bass combination, Pedro Eustache's spell bounding flute, Gary Meek's sultry sax. The tune is perfect as a diamond of the first water.

Bird Speak is Stephan's excursion into his keyboards and synthesizer park. Mike Miller's electric guitar solo supported by Tom Brechtlein's outstanding drums is on a wild fusion ride.

Broken Wings is dedicated to Stephan's father Karl-Bernd Oberhoff. Stephan sings this tune with great emotion. 

On Jammin With James James Harrah and Stephan Oberhoff create a final acoustic highlight.

Stephan Oberhoff's debut album "Conversations With My Father" makes addicted. The fact that this album was already made in 2003 let me hope that we will soon have a follow-up. Stephan, don't let us wait too long!




  • Players:

    Stephan Oberhoff (piano, synthesizers, electrical guitar, drum/bass programming, percussion)
    Jimmy Haslip (bs)
    Tom Brechtlein (drums)
    Pedro Eustache (flutes)
    Terry Bradshaw and Kimaya Seward (vocals)
    Kevin Ricard and Cassio Duarte (percussion)
    Paul Jackson, Jr., James Harrah and Mike Miller (guitars),
    Dennis Farious (tp)
    Scot Mayo, Gary Meek (saxes)
    Joe Vanelli (backing vocals)
    Stefanie Fife, Melissa Hasin (cellos)