by Sax O'Groove

Released 2015
Prinssound UG
Released 2015
Prinssound UG
Five Producers - Eleven Tracks and an A-List of Smooth Jazz Artists as guest. Each song on this CD has been created like a little pearl and crafted in the most diverse locations throughout the world. Smooth Jazz on it's best ...
As a follow-up to the 2013 self-titled release, Sax O’Groove, Together cements itself in a dizzying array of contemporary jazz legends and artists for an action-packed, musical package that should not be missed. There are many well-known artists included on this mostly instrumental release, including Rick Braun, Brian Culbertson, Michael Lington, NILS, Darren Rahn, Shilts, Bill Steinway, AkusTICOS, and many others. All of the songs were mixed, produced, and recorded by Andreas Buechel, Nils Jiptner, Paul Weimar, Darren Rahn, and John Odio in Germany, Costa Rica, L.A., Chicago, and Playa Del Rey.

“Love You More” features the work of Rick Braun, as the track opens with a lush and bright bass, guitar, percussion, and sax medley. The keyboards add some bright tones to the mix, as the rollicking tune ventures into upbeat territories. The array of horn sounds, atmospheric washes and embellishments, and steady percussion evokes a soothing and magical result that is rarely duplicated. The four-minute tune is one of the best jazz tracks on the album.

“In The Shadows” opens with a funky, keyboard arrangement with full-on percussion and sporadic sax and gurgling bass sounds. There are neo-classical overtures, trippy electronic vibes, and a characteristic jazz beat. There are a lot of musical elements coming together here, which somehow works. There is a bit of jazz standard, cinematic leanings, neo-classical, funk, rock, and electronica stylings going around here.

“Keep It Smooth” is an apt-title for a groovy, jazz-soaked tune with funky, bluesy, and lounge-laden musical elements from Darren Rahn. There are fluid sax tones, blurby electronica, keyboard embellishments, and swishy percussion throughout. The bubbling jazz grooves move to the forefront in musical harmony. Overall, it is a rather straightforward song with likable tones and instrumentation played in the right proportions.

“Jungle Groove” features the instrumental work of Brian Culbertson amidst a jazzy percussive foundation with blurting horns, fluid guitars, heavy percussion, and keyboard ingenuity for a very engaging tune. The music is rather punchy and inventive, as the saxophones do not overtly monopolize the overall sound. The jungle connotation probably stems from the complex mix of sounds and tones that are slightly cacophonous, but in a good way.

“Feeling Fine” is a composition featuring Bill Steinway amidst a mix of dance, jazz, and pop elements that are led by a disco-esque theme, swishy percussion, and keyboard accompaniment. There are sparkling electronic tones, Latin percussion, and various whistles and horns with piano accompaniment later on in the song. This adds a more cultured or diverse sound to the song, as well as the recording as a whole.

The host of accomplished musicians on Together makes it a recommended recording in its own right. Specifically, the diverse jazz styles revolve around the saxophone and a few other horns with upbeat percussion, keyboard adornments, and fluid grooves that add variety and classiness to the album. There are vocals on one track, but the rest of the tunes are completely instrumental. The instrumental structure of the album probably should not include vocals, but where they are present they seem to accentuate the musical elements of the track. Nevertheless, the music is better when it is completely instrumental on here, which otherwise interrupts the flow of the album. The music is primarily contemporary jazz, but there are some smoother elements. Whether the music is smooth jazz, acid jazz, nu-jazz, or any combination thereof, Together walks the line very comfortably between jazz and heavenly bliss. Sax connoisseurs should love this album. Importantly, none of the tracks needed any tweaking. Fans of the aforementioned jazz artists on this album, and jazz in general, will definitely find happiness on all of the tracks.

Artist: Sax O’Groove
Album: Together
Review by Matthew Forss
Rating: 4.5 stars (out of 5)