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Release Date:
Apr 20, 2010

Reviewed by:
Harvey Cline

Piano fans will be happy to know that there is a new release on the horizon from one of their favorite artists, David Benoit. This fan favorite comes to us with eleven new tracks that are sure to make them hit the replay button several times as they listen. Given inspiration by the NASA photo of our home planet that graces the cover as well as some time away in the mountains near Saratoga California, this release has much to offer smooth jazz fans for quite a while.

Part of that inspiration in the mountains resulted in the opening number called “Botswana Bossa Nova.” It kicks everything off with a good pace as it charges through the opening chorus, driven by a back beat that keeps it coming. There’s an infectious riff throughout that is countered by a few measures of whimsical relief. This is a great way to start off. The next number was inspired by the same mountains. “Wills Chill” has that chill vibe to it. Says Benoit, “I really loved the vibe of “Wills Chill.” When I started I started recording, I wanted the whole album to have that edgy, chill sound with long loops and lots of samples, with a little piano in the mix.” Add a little touch of sax towards the end, and you’ve got another favorite. “Unbelievable” brings back Benoit’s famous five note intro into a heavily chorded hook that fans have come to love over the years.You will be pleased to hear Rick Braun on muted trumpet as well.  I really like “Easy Day” for the simple reason that I just get it. I feel what he’s trying to do here while keeping things simple while never boring the listener with the same paths taken earlier. It makes you think of that one day you rarely get when you have no plans, wear no watch, and just take it easy.

“New Creation” begins fairly complicated and continues to build as it goes along. I like the way it drives, with a bass beat that is ever present. The chorus builds to a resounding ending. David gears up the Fender Rhodes for some retro sounds that was originally the title track. The title track takes a step back and has more of a simple approach. The piano here is more acoustic for the most part, with stand up bass to give it that old club feel. The next tune continues that same club feel as the previous. “Sneaky As A Cat” adds some playful flute flair from Tim Weisberg that makes it fun to listen to. Benoit is in full force here as he shows off what’s made him such a fine pianist for so long. “Brownie’s Gone” will be one that long time fans will flock to. It begins in the upper register and gives way to some very nice chorded progressions that move at a slow pace while keeping everyone entertained. The finale has to be one of my favorites. “Freedom at Midnight (The Schroeder Variations) incorporates David’s favorite from 1987 along with Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” It’s arranged as if Shroeder of Peanuts were playing it. I know you’re going to like it.

Depending on if you are a new fan or an old, I believe you will like this offering from this ever popular musician. He covers a lot of bases here with some old school as well as a little chill. The mix is a nice blend of uptempo foot tappers as well as a couple introspective thinkers. Be sure to check out the new release from David Benoit soon.