Written by Michael Marsh
I wanted to reach back a little bit and review a CD that was released before I started to do the smooth jazz reviews for The New Citizen Press. Gerald Albright released "New Beginnings" on March 28, 2006, on the Peak Records label. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying many of Gerald Albright’s CD’s as well as seeing him live, and I can say without reservation that he never disappoints. When it comes to smooth jazz sax, Gerald Albright is
"The Man", as far as I’m concerned. It’s a title which he has consistently maintained since the unfortunate and untimely passing of Grover Washington. Although the latest CD is entitled "New Beginnings", it is anything but a new beginning. It is actually a continuation of the level of excellence that Gerald Albright has maintained for many, many years now. On this particular project, Albright is joined by other heavyweights like Patrice Rushen, Paul Jackson, Jr. and, Jeff Lorber, while Rex Rideout and Chuckii Booker join in with arrangement and production assistance on a number of cuts.
"New Beginnings" starts out extremely strong with the very first cut, the appropriately named "We Got The Groove". Albright serves immediate notice that he does "have the groove" indeed. Next comes the title cut "New Beginnings", on which Albright spits out a real funky groove on his sax. Patrice "Babyfingers" Rushen adds her exceptional keyboard playing on this one. Track three is a real nice ballad, entitled "Deep Into My Soul", followed be a Whispers classic
"And The Beat Goes On". Albright really rocks the house on his version of this Whispers dance tune, and I can definitely envision the dance floor being packed and rocking, if any of the local clubs ever choose to play Albright’s version while the crowd is out on the floor. Albright next presents us with his mellow rendition of an old standard, "Georgia On My Mind", at the fifth track and, then adds a jamming version of the same tune at the twelfth track. The sixth and seventh tracks, "Take Your Time" and "I Want Somebody" are upbeat grooves with a funky edge and definitely keep the groove rolling right along. Albright mellows things out again on the eighth track, a very nice ballad with vocal accompaniment entitled, "You Are My Love". Albright closes his set with another upbeat mellow groove
"Last But Not Least", a very sweet vocal ballad "I Need You", a funky number entitled "Big Shoes" and the aforementioned "Georgia On My Mind (Reprise)"
This is one outstanding CD, from beginning to end. I have listened to it many times and I never get tired of hearing it. There is not one weak cut on this entire CD and, each and every cut delivers pure entertainment and joy to the ears. If you choose to buy only one smooth jazz CD this year, this is the one. I give it five plus stars on a scale of five stars.
Michael Marsh is the jazz reviewer for TNCP. To make contact, you may e-mail him at email@example.com for review.