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L.A. Chillharmonic
     

The L.A. Chillharmonic

3.0 1
by L.A. Chillharmonic
 
Over the past two decades, few artists have better defined the distinctly urban flow of the smooth jazz genre -- or better understood its connections to older soul-jazz greats like George Benson and Wes Montgomery -- than guitarist Richard Smith. Yet for all of his nine solid solo releases and work with genre greats like Dan Siegel, Richard

Overview

Over the past two decades, few artists have better defined the distinctly urban flow of the smooth jazz genre -- or better understood its connections to older soul-jazz greats like George Benson and Wes Montgomery -- than guitarist Richard Smith. Yet for all of his nine solid solo releases and work with genre greats like Dan Siegel, Richard Elliot, Rick Braun, and Kirk Whalum, he's never quite emerged as an A-lister for all-star tours and cruises. What to do? Remember the powerhouse success of Tom Scott & the L.A. Express, one of his adopted hometown's most influential jazz/pop/funk/R&B bands ever, and figure out a way to update that wild vibe and tradition with his favorite big-name locals. His connections help bring an impressive bunch of cats to the gig: bassist Brian Bromberg (who produced many of the tracks), drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, percussionist Alex Acu�a, keyboardist Jeff Lorber, trumpeter Greg Adams, saxmen Gary Meek and Eric Marienthal, and pianist/vocalist Patrice Rushen. Who says the West Coast can't blow? While Smith's Montgomery/Benson/Larry Carlton-influenced electric playing dominates, and the L.A. Chillharmonic is clearly his vision, this project is a true throwback to the days when blowing and jamming was at least as important as getting a radio-friendly song on the air. This explosive collection does both, mixing catchy-cool hooks (as on the brass enhanced midtempo title track) with more energetic and slightly more improvisation-filled explorations as "Ultimate X," "Boogie on Reggae Woman," the crunching rock blues-influenced "Back in the Day," and the Siegel co-penned final burst of energy "Alvinator." Those who think that this group might have so much fun riding the rollercoaster that they might forget the "chill" part of their name can rest assured. "Gift" breezes along Smith's swirling, graceful acoustic and Lorber's piano, with Rushen chiming in dreamy wordless vocals.; the Brian McKnight composed "What We Do Here" is a pure update of the quiet storm aesthetic; and "Agrigento" has a spacy atmospheric sensuality that balances the feisty tone of much of the collection. Since this was one of 2008's best progressive smooth jazz dates, it begged the question: one time all-star joint or the start of something big? Anyone who knows that there's more to smooth jazz than what we hear on the radio should hope for the latter.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/26/2008
Label:
Artistry Music
UPC:
0181475701422
catalogNumber:
7014
Rank:
230460

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

L.A. Chillharmonic   Primary Artist
Patrice Rushen   Piano,Vocals
Brian Bromberg   Bass,Piano,Electric Bass,Horn,Acoustic Bass,Fills
Gregg Karukas   Piano,Soloist
Michael Paulo   Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Jeff Lorber   Keyboards
Gary Meek   Tenor Saxophone
Alex Acuña   Percussion
Jeff Carruthers   Guitar
Vinnie Colaiuta   Drums
Herman Jackson   fender rhodes
Nick Lane   Trombone
Eric Marienthal   Saxophone,Alto Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Soloist
Tollak Ollestad   Harmonica
Richard Smith   Guitar
Lee Thornburg   Trumpet
Larry Antonino   Bass
Tollak Olstead   Harmonica
Greg Adams   Trumpet
Sean Holt   Saxophone,Vocals
Richard Smith   Guitar
Raffaella Camera   Vocals
Hans Zermuhlen   Keyboards
Toni Scruggs   Vocals

Technical Credits

Brian Bromberg   Composer,Producer,drum programming
Brian McKnight   Composer
Jeff Carruthers   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Audio Production
Tom McCauley   Engineer
Dan Siegel   Composer
Richard Smith   Arranger,Audio Production
Stevie Wonder   Composer
Greg Adams   Arranger
Denny Stilwell   Executive Producer
Richard Smith   Arranger,Producer
Jeffrey Walker   Composer
Ron Moton   Composer
Marco Lamioni   Composer

Customer Reviews

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The L.A. Chillharmonic 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
SmoothJazzReviews.net More than 1 year ago
Guitarist Richard Smith has assembled an all-star cast for The L.A. Chillharmonic¿s self-titled first release. With the likes of Patrice Rushen, Eric Marienthal, Gary Meek, Greg Adams, Brian Bromberg, Gregg Karukas, Jeff Lorber and several other established artists aboard, you¿d think it would be hard to go wrong. Unfortunately the CD doesn¿t break any new ground, although it does offer up a few tasty tracks. The album kicks off with two upbeat songs, the title cut and `Checkin¿ You Out¿. An acoustic guitar floats warmly across Patrice Rushen¿s vocals on `Gift¿, but like `Ultimate X¿, `Being With You¿, and `Agrigento¿, the track doesn¿t stand out from numerous other smooth jazz cuts. A cover of Stevie Wonder¿s `Boogie on Reggae Woman¿ starts off lively enough but is missing that ¿something¿ to sustain interest. `Back in the Day¿ is a fun blues-y number with Smith¿s guitar leading the way. Brian McKnight¿s `What We Do Here¿ is treated to a spare arrangement that takes a while to get off the ground and doesn¿t do much to enhance the original. The CD concludes on a high note with `Alvinator¿, featuring a tight brass section and excellent sax and guitar solos that lift it above much of the other material. With such a talented cast, you might approach this CD with high expectations, but although the execution is as solid as ever, one can¿t help but feel disappointed by the music itself. -- smoothjazzreviews.net

Track ratings:

L.A. Chillharmonic 4
Checkin¿ You Out 3
Gift 3
Ultimate X 3
Boogie on Reggae Woman 3
Back in the Day 4
What We Do Here 3
Being With You 3
Agrigento 3
Alvinator 4