- So Fine
One of the artists of the
Heads Up sampler Smooth Africa and an important represantative of
South African Smooth Jazz is Wessel.
Wessel is Wessel van Rensburg. His sound
was influenced by Acoustic
Alchemy having worked with Tristian Malliot and Andrew
In January of 1999, Wessel performed
in two shows
as opening act for Joe
McBride on his tour to South Africa, with Denny Lalouette
on bass and Rob Watson on drums making up the rest of the band.
The US jazz pianist enjoyed the support provided by Wessel and
praised the abilities of all the SA musicians who got to play with
him, in Johannesburg and Cape Town. That was the reason Wessel's
tune Soweto found its way on the above mentioned sampler.
Wessel's second solo project So Fine
was released in 2001 on the Sheer Sound label. Wessel has
composed all tunes with the exception of You And The Night And The
Music. What you can await: A laid-back Smooth Jazz experience
with African overtones and sultry melodies firmly rooted in the
Of Dreamers, a midtempo tune Mccoy
Mrubata blows an intimate sax following and improvising on Wessel's
sensible piano play.
Tell Me Tomorrow has
the basic rhythm well-known by US-American radio-like Smooth Jazz
production. The tune is flowing smoothly as Wessel describes
his music himself.
was written in memory of Ingrid. Ernie
Smith is performing his guitar and showcases his mellow voice.
The attentive reader will be familiar with his music by my review
about his own project Child
Of The Light.
The title tune So
Fine is a well-arranged very radio-friendly tune with a
hooking melody. The track improves by his rhythm-emphatic style. A
good platform for Wessel's and John Fourie's solos on
piano and guitar.
Pictures In My
Side-Mirror presents a bright theme with Kevin Davidson's
The piano is an instrument which offers the
broadest possibilities of expressions and Wessel uses these
opportunities as exercises on Sound Of Sky.
A calm and cautious approach to the melody and the improvisation about
has a certain similiarity to Pat Metheny's music as Wessel humed
partly to the melody played by Mccoy
Mrubata on sax. After a slow beginning the tune gains its velocity
in a dynamic bow.
Most of the tracks like the following The
Time Is Now have a melody which is the starting point for Wessel
extensive piano solos. Enough space to let your thoughts flow while
listening to his music.
is a special tune, very inspiring and with a strong hooking melody. I
absolutly understand that Dave Love has choosen this tune for
his Smooth Africa sampler. Wessel comments: "A little
while back, I found myself rummaging through my old record collection
and to my delight came accross one of the first Jazz albums I ever
bought: Joe Sample's "Voices in the Rain." Listening to
Sample's music after so many years reminded me why he has remained
such a strong influence - his strong melodic lines and deceivingly
accessible harmonies tend to invite a wider audience than just the
pure Jazz listener. With this in mind, I decided to get some friends
together and to attempt to do the same - to create music that I enjoy,
but also inspires some sense of enjoyment in a wider audience..."
Somehow is Soweto a
turning-point of this album. The Emperor's
Clothes has a smooth mood starting with the lovely voice of
the attractive TK. But than appears Sifiso Sudan's
additive rap song, I personally experience as a modernistic break into
You And The Night
And The Music is a jazz classic, often covered by great
artists like Chris Potter, Art Blakey, Chet Baker, Dionne Warwick,
Frank Sinatra, Stan Getz, Bill Evans and many more. Bruce
Cassidy on trumpet presents a modern version. The old stuff
is still fascinating.
Those who miss the African style: Mapantsula
is such good-tempered piece. I especially like the warm character of Russel
Sterling's guitar. Am I an incorrigible romanticist?
Clothes in an instrumental version is
finishing this album. Without the rap song the tune has the right
flavor. Wessel is concentrating on the part, he is
skilful in: the piano play.
Those who understand Smooth
Jazz as melodic and unobtrusive music will like this uncomplicated
album. Those who like a more sophisticated style will wish more space
for further and more extensive solos. But that would be stuff for a