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Release Date:
August 31, 2010

Reviewed by:
Harvey Cline

Keyboardist Brian Simpson releases ten new songs that are sure to have fans happy. As the title indicates, this one has a real Miami feel to it, and I’m sure will be a big hit with many. He includes some great talent here from jazz greats Peter White, Euge Groove, and George Duke. This is his third release now, and he continues to grow as an artist.

The title track jumps right out at you and catches you from the very beginning. Not only is it the first song, it is also the first single that you have been hearing on the air waves. Says Simpson, “I’m very happy we chose “South Beach” as the first single because it’s the song that’s most indicative of my style. My travels take me to some pretty nice places, but my favorites are always the ones with beaches. I would walk along beaches listening to rough ideas for this CD on my pod.”

The wind, sea, and sand really inspired the melodies you’ll hear on South Beach. It moves along at a nice pace that reminds you of a nice afternoon in Miami. It’s a funky little number that shows off Brian’s skills very well. “Can’t Tell You Why” is a little more laid back in it’s approach as it begins with some nice flugel horn from Ron King who also picks it up towards the middle. Brian’s keys here are light through out with a little more hyped synth on the break. “Lay It On Me” funks things up a little with the help of saxophonist Euge Groove. He sets up Brian’s keys, and the two of them play off of each very well. I think it’s one you’ll be revisiting several times. It leads in to another “duet” song as Peter White adds his special magic on “Never Without You.” It is more acoustic than the previous songs, and is dedicated to Brian’s daughter Shawndra. This is one you’re really going to like.

There’s a little vocal added in to “Paradise Island.” If you’ve ever been there, you know that Brian captures the mood of the island with his approach to this song. It begins quiet earnestly before growing to a nice ending that shows off some of Simpson’s skills on the keys. The third gem here has to be “Old Friends” as Brian teams up with the legendary George Duke. His electronic keys are a nice complement to Brian’s acoustic. It is good to hear them both back together again. Another favorite of mine is “All I Want Is You.” The sax of Steve Alaniz plays off Simpson’s keys very well through this snappy little number. It is a nice complement to “Our Love” which features Alaniz once again. He finishes the release with “Moonlit Ocean.” If you’ve ever seen the light reflecting off the water on the coast you know how beautiful it can be. This one feels like a late night drive as it features Ron King’s muted trumpet throughout. It’s a nice one to finish this “beach” set with.

Fans of this Keyboardist won’t be disappointed with Simpson’s third relapse. The addition of several great musicians really adds a lot here, and makes for some really good smooth jazz. As the temps in the north begin to drop this fall, it really might be a good time to check out the heat coming from South Beach!