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Smooth Jazz Reviews on JazzNet247 Radio Europe

As a smooth jazz journalist, I sincerely support the smooth jazz genre, as I adore the sound and recognize the diligence and hard work artists and musicians place into their craft.

  sheila e ross

As an educator, I enjoy working with youth as an English teacher of eight years and see daily the strong embrace students have for music as well.

For this reason, I expose them further to the artistry.  Some students share sincere interests in musical careers so we dive deeper into the life and times of both current and late artists. Like literature, music is personal and shared from the human condition, so there is much to acquire.

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Jazz Reviews on JazzNet247 Radio Europe

Artist : Ray Blue

Album : Work

Year : 2019

Label : Jazzheads

ray blue

Personnel : Ray Blue : Tenor Sax | Ron Wilkins : Trombone | Neil Clark : Percussion | Steve Johns : Drums | Essiet Okon Essiet : Bass | Belden Bullock : Bass | Jeff Barone : Guitar | Sharp Radway : Piano | Kirk Lightsey : Piano | Benito Gonzalez : Piano

New York based tenor saxman Ray Blue was a new name to me and was introduced by my new friend and servicing agent Mike Carlson from MC Promotion in Washington State in 2019 and I am very glad he did. Ray’s smooth and deep tenor sax tone is quiet and creative and his interplay with the other members of this excellent selection of songs is harmonious, elegant and reminiscent of the old school swinging jazz greats mentioned below.

Ray has chosen his song selections carefully and the first track that we choose for our radio shows was ‘ My Friend And I Took A Walk ‘ which is a lilting ballad which caresses the senses , his version of Al Jarreau’s ‘ Teach Me Tonight ‘ is a wonderful tribute to one of the best jazz vocalists that I have heard. Uptempo tracks include ‘ Lift Every Voice And Sing ‘, ‘ Mellow Mood ‘ which has a Latin American rhythm reminiscent of Cal Tjader or Poncho Sanchez. There are two version of the Alan Brandt and Bob Haymes classic ‘ That’s All ‘ from the Great American Songbook which Ray Blue was clearly influenced by with this production, one with the classic piano trio and one with only pianist Kirk Lightsey.

Ray has an intro solo on ‘Everything Happens To Me ‘ with drummer Steve Johns exchanging pleasantries, but the clarity and ease of his playing is a delight to the listener, the exchange with the piano trio makes this album the perfect accompaniment to your Dinner Hour or Late Night Listening.

As a fan of mainstream jazz I like to be entertained with tracks which will showcase the individual artists yet blend them together as an entity which will convey the magic ingredients which have stood the test of time for me, improvisation, creativity and track selection. Ray Blue has recorded a set of standards which will appeal to a wide audience and perhaps introduce non-jazz fans to a genre which has been sadly overlooked for many years as it has strayed from its roots.

‘ Work ‘ has been a delight to behold and will be played in my Music Room for many years to come.  ^

Review by Wes George
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Similar Artists -
Coleman Hawkins, Stan Getz, Lee Konitz, Benny Carter, Ike Quebec, Lou Donaldson, Stanley Turrentine, Paul Desmond, Ben Webster, Johnny Hodges, Joe Henderson, Lester Young, Dexter Gordon

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