Now this is what smooth jazz was really supposed to be before monied corporate idiots got ahold of it, bleaching the unholy hell out of the style until even Betty Crocker could be a groupie to the genre, God help us. The movement's antecedents lay in Hank Crawford, Lonnie Liston Smith, Grover Washington, and others, not Yanni and Kenny G. Arrival unfortunately comes packaged with very little data, not even songwriting credits, so I can't say what Terry Marshall's roots and presence are save that he's popular in D.C. and has played notable venues: Wolf Trap, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Blues Alley, etc., credits not to be sneezed at.
Marshall's one of those unobtrusive leader/composers who doesn't hang any portion of his ego in his work, just lays into the music itself, with plenty of room for all players to shine. He found a solid-gold winner in drummer Alejandro Lucini 'cause, oh man, is this guy ever good! The real energies in the CD are split between him and Marshall's lyrical, positive, lucid pianistics (less so in the electronic keys). Kevin Williams puts in a great guitar solo in the opening cut, Teresa, and various horn passages stand out, but the true spine is Marshall and Lucini. Singer Iva Ambush isn't quite ready for prime time, though she's not all that far from it, and it's in fact the other vocalist, Kendra Johnson, who shows what's missing in the riveting This Bitter Earth, nailing the cut 110%. She isn't just singing, she's consumed by the music.
Tracey Gordon inserts a letter perfect sax solo in Nostalgia, which indeed brings back elder days when Rusty Bryant and others tread the Earth. Guitarist Ben Young echoes Williams in the perky Latinate Questions and Answers, harking back to George Benson. DeCastro Brown tries his best as lead singer in Moodies Mood for Love, but when Kendra Johnson sails in for a brief response to his paeans, she blows him out of the water. I haven't a clue who she is, but that girl has a brilliant career ahead of her; if not already professional, she should be, and Marshall would do well to keep her and Lucini included in his excellent sessions. The three together are more than formidable.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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