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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Flying
Climb aboard this groove. Brian Simpson grows from strength to strength with each release. Since there are so few reviews on this one, at the moment, I'm thinking many people don't know what's up. We'll I'll tell you. Let me say straight out that this is hot. Lots of highlights here, but it could be argued that the entire CD is a highlight. The atypical radio friendly...
Published on October 13, 2007 by buzzdavis

versus
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, But Not Great!
First, I didn't know that the cover track, Above The Clouds was a collaboration with George Duke, who is one of my favorite jazz musicians and a pioneer in this genre. This song was the primary reason I purchased this album.

That having been said. I think that Brian Simpson's album is a smooth, cool, in-pocket, no frills compilation. It has all the riffs,...
Published on April 3, 2008 by Browns001


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Flying, October 13, 2007
By 
buzzdavis (APO, AE United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Above the Clouds (Audio CD)
Climb aboard this groove. Brian Simpson grows from strength to strength with each release. Since there are so few reviews on this one, at the moment, I'm thinking many people don't know what's up. We'll I'll tell you. Let me say straight out that this is hot. Lots of highlights here, but it could be argued that the entire CD is a highlight. The atypical radio friendly sound of What Cha Gonna Do gets this party started. A solid jam session going on. Brian and the gang step it up a notch, beat wise, when Kirk Whalum brings his horn to the affair on Juicy. Not my favorite type of groove, but they're groovin' no doubt, I'm giving up props. Chuck Loeb joins in the fun on From The Hip; nice track. Next up, Let's Get Close is the type of groove the title indicates that it is, smooth, chilled. Call in your significant other and turn the lights down, off if you must, LOL. Moving right along, One More Time is one of those Sunday afternoon cruising songs as is The Last Kiss, which then is followed by my favorite of many favorite's on here: Fiona's Song. Man oh man, it doesn't get much better than this, in my humble opininon of course. Mind you, Bali, the next piece, makes a statement for supremacy as well. Nice, real nice indeed. Above The Clouds, featuring George Duke, gets us back into radio friendly territory again. I can hear the DJs trying to sound all sexy as they intro/outro this; you know how they sometimes take themselves too seriously, LOL. Memories Of You clocks in at 1:23 and is Brian doing his acoustic thing. Kool. Michael Brecker opens proceedings on the final cut That's Right, and is center stage for the first 1:30 seconds. I'll fess up and say initially I considered the stop button option, but I hung with it and submit to you that once Brian comes in, it all makes sense, so to speak. Great CD
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, But Not Great!, April 3, 2008
This review is from: Above the Clouds (Audio CD)
First, I didn't know that the cover track, Above The Clouds was a collaboration with George Duke, who is one of my favorite jazz musicians and a pioneer in this genre. This song was the primary reason I purchased this album.

That having been said. I think that Brian Simpson's album is a smooth, cool, in-pocket, no frills compilation. It has all the riffs, structure, "hip" sound, and mellow groove that define the Smooth Jazz genre today. His songs are very soft and melodic. The chord arrangements in each chorus and bridge are harmonically rich and satisfying. A good album to play for you wine and cheese party, when your guests hear something in the background that is catchy and foot-tapping. Definitely, something I will put in my rotation for a while.

However, as a jazz enthusiast, the same problem I have with the album is (in my opinion) the same fundamental problem with the Smooth Jazz genre. It seems that the industry discourages any innovation or creative expansion of the music. The structure of each song appears overly scripted. Artists do not allocate enough creative space for improvisation and expression, and when applied, is easily anticipated and tends to lack enthusiasm. Tunes have a tendency to sound similar and overlap, whether up-tempo or down-tempo. The fusion with R&B and Pop formats make the music bland and generic, although more listener friendly and easily digestible.

To me, this is unfortunate, because I think artists are stifled for the sake of record sales and popularity. Artist that truly want to expand horizons in jazz tend to be grossly overlooked, and in some cases, pushed to some other obscure bucket (like Modern, Acid, or FreeJazz); genres that never gets real publicity.

For those that read this, please understand that I don't want to be overly critical of this album. Its by no means a "bad" album. In fact, its pretty good! I just wish that Smooth Jazz artists had a little more freedom of expression for the sake of the music, and not just for popularity. Brian Simpson is a fine pianist, and Above The Clouds is a consistently smooth listen. If all you listen to is Smooth Jazz, then this is a great pick. I bet this album would sound even better when performed live. If you listen to a variety of jazz and you are looking for something creative and special, there isn't much "bang for the buck" here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album,Great keyboardist, September 9, 2007
This review is from: Above the Clouds (Audio CD)
I think "Above The Clouds" is just as good as Brian's previous albums. I love the variety of sounds used on this cd. It remimds me a continuation of his previous cd "It's All Good". I've been a long time fan of Brian's before he became solo. He's a very nice guy with a positive attitude toward life. I would definately have to give this album a Five.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet Sounds, June 27, 2009
By 
K. Smith (Sacramento, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Above the Clouds (Audio CD)
Brian Simpson is wonderful. This CD is one that you put in and hit the repeat button and never get tired. After purchasing the cd I had the pleasure of seeing him perform live and he was amazing. Strong fan base and it is all due to his amazing talent. This cd is a must have.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great follow-up to his last one, July 6, 2008
This review is from: Above the Clouds (Audio CD)
Brian Simpson's last CD was in heavy rotation for me for a long time after I bought it. This CD is what one can expect given his prior CD - a nice listen all the way through, songs that have a nice feel to them. He picks up the pace nicely on a few songs and slows it down with the same skill.

I expect that this CD will be like the last one, in that I'll keep it in heavy rotation for a while. There isn't really a song on here that stands out more than the others, but that's because they're all so good. The last CD was like that to a lesser extend, although the title track was a favorite from it.

His last two CDs have me hoping he continues to put out CDs more regularly. He's shined in the background for a long time and as Dave Koz's musical director, but now we're getting to see just how good he is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars all day music, February 16, 2008
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This review is from: Above the Clouds (Audio CD)
I first heard of brian simpsom two years ago. Since that point it's about a 95% chance that you will find one of his three CD's in my changer at any time of the day. His piano work is never clouded by the background and the background is always complimentary of Brian's piano. This is some of the smoothest, most creative smooth jazz i have ever listened to. This is from a fan who started to listen in 1972. In 36 year he is in my top ten of all smooth jazz keyboard artist.

M. Eddings Colorado Springs. CO
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smooth jazz, January 5, 2008
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This review is from: Above the Clouds (Audio CD)
Brian's recent CD is beyond excellent and one of the best releases this previous year. It is better than his first one. Every cut has a distinction of its own. Even though I like some covers, every song is fresh and not a cover and original. I eagerly anticipate your third release.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as good as his last album, December 30, 2007
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This review is from: Above the Clouds (Audio CD)
It's another typical Brian Simpson album, which is fantastic. Toward the end of the album, he always throws in something a little out of the ordinary, and this album is no exception.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Above the Clouds - All Good!, November 5, 2007
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T. Mandley (Annapolis, MD) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Above the Clouds (Audio CD)
How can you go wrong with any Brian Simpson CD? I listened to his "It's All Good" CD over and over again and when I saw him playing with Dave Koz recently I told him how much I loved it. "If you like that one you'll love my new one." He didn't lie (and what a nice guy by the way). "Above the Clouds" has some very nice hooks -- Brian's solos are always very appealing to the jazz ear... very smooth.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable, March 25, 2014
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This review is from: Above the Clouds (Audio CD)
One of those CDs that you can put on that will complement your day not distract you from it. Brian Simpson is masterful at creating music scapes that surrounds and entertains you.
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Above the Clouds
Above the Clouds by Brian Simpson (Audio CD - 2007)
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