I came across this cd quite by chance whilst on holiday in Florida. I went into the music store with my daughter, who at the tender age of nine displayed a wisdom beyond her years and urged me to listen to the album playing on demo. I was gripped instantly. Its beautiful music born of a marriage of some of the greatest artists on the jazz scene. The varietal style is the making of this album with elements of blues, smooth jazz, traditional and even a hint of latino and funk - superb moody sax playing and some downright soft and sassy trumpet playing to underline a good solid earthy performance. Add a little Cuban spice and some acoustic magic and you have a heady cocktail to spin the senses. Urban Knights makes for a tasty rhythmic apéritif and before you have a chance to shout encore your sent reeling into Oscar Lopez's hypnotic latino spell. Rushing headlong on through Warren Hill's talented soulful performance on the saxophone your greeted by Cuba L.A exciting and heady interpretation of Whisper Not (my personal favourite). Savour a while those hot, spicy Cuban nights and shimmy out on the dance floor to surrender to the rhythm. Of course they could only follow it with Scott Wilkie, a great talent in his own right, such vibrant and refreshing key work. Of course Fruit Sandwich gives you an appetite for a little Escape and this you can certainly do as you lose yourself in another fine example of some passionate keywork. Alex de Grasi provides us with the only vocal experience on the album and although not normally my forte I have to say its a first rate well produced track. Rushing headlong into the penultimate track your greeted by the Ramsey Lewis Trio performing Close Your Eyes and Remember and boy do you remember this one. This another favourite of mine being a lover of the jazz guitar and I love what I consider to be great tender mood music. Toots Thielemans spine chilling talent on the harmonica finally shows us that it really is Hard to Say Goodbye. This last track for me is another favourite which is good down to the very last drop and comes to an end all too disappointingly soon. In essence one of those albums that provides a great talent filled experience right the way through and definitely an album you'll be proud to have in your collection. SUBERB VALUE FOR MONEY!!
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Narada has gone out of its way to convince people that it has more to offer than just "New Age" artists. On this compilation, Narada showcases some outstanding jazz talent. The CD opens with a very nice piece from Urban Knights taken from their Urban Knights III CD and then transends effortlessly into what has become my favorite cut, "Walking Through The Pyramid" by Oscar Lopez. The entire compilation was put together so as to sound like it is a CD performed by one group rather than ten. The CD's only draw back is the inclusion of "Escape", the discs only vocal track and possibly the overly laidback lounge music of Toots Thielemans' "Hard To Say Goodbye". At least 8 outstanding tracks for a bargain price. Worth the purchase.
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I'll be blunt- this CD is awesome. There is so many different kinds of music expressed! Theres a mournful harmonica song, theres a trombone solo song- its just a great CD to listen to on a rainy afternoon, or, for that matter, a sunny day. Definitely a good buy! :-)