Smooth Jazz Ride
With a music career now spanning over two decades, guitarist and songwriter, Joel Del Rosario (aka JDR) has just about touched every musical style. From classical to jazz, from hip hop to southern gospel Del Rosario has done it all and now, in partnership with multi-instrumentalist, writer and producer Will ‘Surewill’ Clark, he has slipped effortlessly into a contemporary jazz groove. Not that JDR is totally new to the genre. His 2011 CD ‘Coast To Coast’ was right on the smooth jazz money and this latest project, the wonderful ‘Side By Side’, very much picks up where that left off.
Take for example the decidedly chilled ‘Keepin’ It Moving’ that tells you everything you need to know about the synergy that fizzes between these two accomplished musicians. Elsewhere a thumping bass line and snippets of cool muted trumpet from Sam Hankins are key components of the mid tempo ‘Miles Away’ and although ‘Buffalo All Stars’ is characterized by a languid beat plus flashes of Hammond B3 its ‘The Walk’, which swaggers with the hint of a steppers beat.
In terms of personal favorites the sunny disposition of the zesty title cut is right up there but, truth to tell, it’s when JDR and Surewill take a more mellow path that magic starts to happen. Both the splendid ‘Just Chords’ and ‘George’ are cases in point. They are in the good company of the delightfully atmospheric ‘Mon Frere’ and the equally so ‘Washington Square’ which as well as being chilled out guitar driven masterpieces are superb showcases for the talents of JDR and Surewill. Yet, all things considered, my Smooth Jazz Therapy top track is ‘Cali-Sol’. With excellent featured sax from Tony Exum Jr., a vibe to die for and more great work on guitar from Del Rosario this one could be a late contender for my top twenty of 2013.
Best of Los Angeles
With this release, Surewill just brought his music’s persona and image to the forefront and, yes, out of the shadows. You want to take notice. He deserves it and then some. – Ronald Jackson