This pianist and organist has been releasing solid, funky smooth jazz discs for a decade, but has never quite been given his due or been an upper-echelon artist. On this likeable, easy grooving disc, he increases his chances for mainstream exposure by working with the infallible Dave Koz and the Temptations (on the dreamy, mid-tempo ballad "I'll Always Love You") and Peter White, who wrote and plays on the spirited "Workin' It." It's great hanging with high-profile cats, but Smith -- whose multifaceted approach is reminiscent of George Duke -- does just fine on his own, as well, working up the moody, old-school soul-jazz groove on "Rough Cut" (with brass enhancements courtesy of Norbert Statchel and Adolpho Acosta from Tower of Power) and the bluesy "Vega." Another type of vibe is created on the island-themed "Hali Imaile (The Maui Song)." Smith relies a bit too much on vocals without the Temps, but overall, this is a strong addition to his underrated catalog and features a handful of songs that should keep fans of the genre happy.
|Label:||Trippin & Rhythm|