Every now and then there is a new release that comes across my desk that takes me back a bit and makes me realize why I do what I do for Smoothviews. The release by Emir Deodato is just that. It takes me back to a time when I was just learning about jazz and the complicated progressions of keyboards and other instruments. Mix that in with some legendary artists like Al Jarreau and Billy Cobham, you have an instant classic in the making. My thought reference for Deodato is the classic from 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is actually called Sprach Zarathustra. He has played much more than that over the past two decades. It is good to hear those keys once again.
The first song is actually the first release called “Double Face” which features Jarreau on vocals. The two of them play off each other really well as Al’s opening scats give way to some fun vocals. This one keeps going really well with some great hooks and horn backgrounds that will draw you in immediately. Deodato’s keys are clean and are great contrast to the vocals. This is an instant classic in the making. Al is back on vocals along with Dora Nicolosi for the slower paced “I Want You More.” It is a nice duet that features Eumir on the classic keyboards that he takes out til the end. The title track is a funky little number that sheds off any of the old school sound. The keys keep it driving with full band here and added vocals by Jimmy Helms. You’ll be tapping to this one real soon.
“Night Passage” is more laid back in its delivery and features the flute of Gianni Virone through out the opening as well as the best key works of Deodato so far. His sound is very clean and plays well with the flute. Add in some nice guitar from John Tropea and this one stands on its own nicely. The vocals on “No Getting Over” are a nice opening that gives way to the keys once more. Jimmy Helms vocals are strong through this one as it continues to build. One of my all time favorite songs is the Gershwin classic “Summertime” and with this being a “summer” release, I just love hearing it here. Eumir takes the lead here instead of incorporating the vocals heard on previous tracks. Crank it up for some summer fun. The funky “Rule My World” has a nice kick to it that features the driving drums of Cobham and Nicolosi’s vocals once more. Eumir tickles the ivories and this one comes off really well. He finishes up with the building “Border Line” that adds a lot of depth to the release. The constant percussion here is a good backdrop for the keys along with some lush strings.
This is a real fun one to get to listen to. The vocals add so much, and make each song feel like it could possibly be the next single. They’re all very strong with a slight old school feel in a new world of smooth jazz. Be sure to pick up a copy today and enjoy the keyboard work of Eumir Deodato. I’m sure it will take you back as well.