This album features a handful of the traditional jazz standards, pop classics plus original material.
The featured artist includes Pee Wee Ellis (JBs), David Newton on piano, my percussion mentor and friend Karl Vanden Bossche, Clive Morton and Tom Clarke-Hill (both on upright bass, and Lee Jones (guitar). Last but not least team Cypher with Kim Cypher on vocals and Mike Cypher on drums.
I have seen many of the artists play separately with other projects and in no way, until at least a few years ago, would I have imagined they would feature on the same album. It’s a nice touch.
Kim’s vocals are very soothing and certainly not overpowering as the words flutter with clear nuance.
The album features popular classics such as Valerie (Mark Ronson) and Soul Eyes written by Waldron and became a giant of tune made famous by John Coltrane. I am not a great fan of popular classics as they have been done to death by the many, and this may be my confirmation bias. However, these pop classics are played differently with the Cypher signature, which makes them interesting to listen to. Not everyone realises they are listening to a smooth jazz version of Valerie or Baker Street. It's good music. Plain and simple.
The opening number The Nearness of You written by Hoagy Carmichael and Ned Washington debuted in 1940 and is not my normal taste in music. However, Kim's voice is heart-warming and comforting. This is a personal recording for each and every one of you. Pee Wee Ellis plays the subtle undulating melodies adding to the refinement of this classic cover. My saying goes, “if you’re going to pay someone else's tune, you better play it well.” It has been played and produced exceptionally well.
My favourite track of this album is Maybe. It is well balanced between vocals and smooth solos.
A little bit before my time Comes Love taken from the 1939 Broadway comedy that spurred a number of stellar artists to perform this tune, including The Andrews Sisters, Sam Cooke, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. This version still has a retro feel about it and is performed exceptionally well. This particular track will re-engage those that have perhaps forgotten about the originals and start a new conversation on music.
As Larry Corryell once said "Lee Jones is an excellent composer and one heck of a guitarist. Breezin' played with impeccable skills. Driving the fusion with crisp and sharp attacks.
In a single word, the album is 'steadfast.'
I will be keeping my eyes and ears open for an event near me - here:
Label: Kim Cypher Music