Adam Hawley Album Review Just The Beginning
Just The Beginning is Adam Hawley’s debut album, but be is not a newcomer to the scene. Hawley has played his guitar on tour with Jennifer Lopez, Dave Koz, and Brian Culbertson among others. When he is not on the road or in the studio, Hawley can be found in the classroom, teaching at a few colleges around Southern California. I am sure his students appreciate all of the tracks on this album.
This is an 11 track effort, and it features some of the Smooth Jazz All Stars. Here are some of the highlights:
35th Street, the first single off of the album, features Eric Darius. Hawley and Darius play off of each other nicely between the sax and the guitar. The track sits right in that groove, with a funky breakdown toward the middle of the track. As of this writing, 35th Street sits at the top of the Smooth Jazz Charts. This is one we will be adding on an upcoming issue of the Smooth Jazz Mix Series.
Cruisin’ features Brian Culbertson, and this track fits right in at a cocktail party. It is a mellow track, but it has its funky moments. Once Culbertson starts tickling the keys, you know this will be a hit. I have heard some interviews with several jazz artists about how they come up with song titles. Usually the title is based on feeling, and if this holds true, you can definitely see yourself cruising with this track playing in the background.
Tracy Carter supplies the vocals to You Can Go On, a track that has a neo-soul vibe. There’s also great back-and-forth between Hawley and Carter. I especially love the vocal scat along with the guitar riffs.
I Don’t Mind features Euge Groove, and when Euge is involved, you know the groove will be slow, but funky. Hawley handles the guitar quite nicely, and you can hear each note as if they were vocals instead of guitar sounds. Once again there is a short funky breakdown in the middle of the track. If these breakdowns will continue to be a “stylistic thing,” I would definitely approve!
Toward the end of the album, you have Eastlake and Joy Ride, a couple of uptempo tracks that give you a nice change of pace.
The album concludes with Love Song, an acoustic track with Kat Hawley on vocals.
Overall we give this a four out of five on the rating scale. It is definitely a solid debut effort and its something you’ll want to check out.