Friday, March 17, 2006

Smooth Jazz Meets Reggae

One of my friends has been telling me for years about a cd that she has been looking for, but could not locate. She heard and loved a couple of tracks played on a smooth radio station of guitarist Lee Ritenour playing Bob Marley tunes.

I found the cd earlier this week. It is a 2001 GRP release titled "A Twist Of Marley - A Tribute". The all star lineup of musicians includes Lee Ritenour (guitar, keys, and producer of the project), Michael Brecker, Gerald Albright, Patti Austin, Rick Braun, Jonathan Butler, Will Downing, Marc Antoine, Lisa Fisher, Dave Grusin, Maxi Priest, and Phil Perry.

I'm not a huge reggae fan, but do enjoy listening occasionally. I found this cd to be very nice and really interesting. Some reggae purists may not appreciate the overwhelming smooth jazz sound injected into Marley's great reggae and ska anthems, but these players are SO GOOD! To me, the great Michael Brecker tenor solo on "Exodus" is worth having the album. Likewise, alto saxman Gerald Albright sounds fantastic on "Jamming". Lee Ritenour is such an incredible player and sounds great on everything he does. A pleasant surprise for me on this cd was how much I am enjoying the two tracks featuring "The King Of Lover's Rock", British reggae artist Maxi Priest. He and Ritenour sound wonderful together on "I Shot The Sheriff" and "Waiting In Vain".

I played a couple of cuts from the cd during my break at the restaurant last night. No less than four patrons came up to me asking about the recording that I was playing. They all loved what they heard.

I'm looking forward to my gig tonight. I am going to present to my friend the cd that she has been wanting for so long. I'll be getting another one for myself, as I'll need to include an occasional "Twist Of Marley" in my break music mix.


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