The thing about Brian Simpson is that his music comes with variation. Even though it is in the Smooth Jazz genre, you get a little Jazz, some R&B, a dash of Funk, a hint of the Blues, which is all wrapped up in Soul. I mean, back in the day, he toured with Teena Marie, Sheena Easton, and Janet Jackson, so that pretty much says it all.
He is a part of what we consider "the Smooth Jazz All Stars", and his latest album, Soul Connection, does not disappoint.
This is a ten track effort, which includes his take on Alexander Borodin, George Forrest, and Robert Wright’s classic “Stranger In Paradise” from the 1953 musical Kismet.
Guests on the album include Adam Hawley and Steve Oliver.
Review - 'Soul Connection' by Brian Simpson
The album kicks off with the title track, Soul Connection. This track has some nice energy, and Braun is just cool with those piano parts. Adam Hawley is here with some keyboards and guitar. The tempo changes up a little about halfway through, and that change adds some sauce to the track.
In Out Of The Blue, the vibe is kind of laid back, with just the right amount of sax to compliment the piano play. You have to give the sax player, Steve Alaniz, some love here, as he is heard throughout the album.
If you like a little Spanish in your Jazz, then Barcelona will scratch that itch. Be sure to pay attention to the Spanish guitar, as it is sounding really nice. This track will definitely put you in a mood.
Meadow Breeze is next. This is the type of track you want to listen to on a chill winter's night, as you sip a warm drink after a long day. All of the instruments really shine, and the overall sound is just flawless.
The mid-tempo sounds continue with See You Again. You can tell Simpson is really feeling this one with his style of play. It is deliberate, yet smoothed out. We also like the backing vocals from Will Gaines.
Stranger In Paradise is next. At first listen, you would not think that this is a song from 1953, as it genuinely sounds like something that was written for 2023. This is how you perform a remake.
Midnight Mood feels like a New Age track, and it will absolutely get you in that mood. Adam Hawley is back on guitar, and this would be a nice addition to your late night playlist.
Until The Break Of Dawn seems to be a smoothed out jam session. All of the musicians get to do their thing, yet the groove stays right there in the pocket. We are going to need more of this style of play.
We are pretty sure Simpson can score films and TV shows if he chose to focus on that. Through The Tears is a great example of what his music would sound like if it was a part of a film. The sound here is timeless.
The set concludes with Going Home. Steve Oliver lends a hand on this track, and like the title implies, this is last call at the lounge, and we can hear this song in the background as the patrons get up and get ready to move on.
Soul Connection is Simpson's 11th album as a leader, and he never seems to disappoint. You can stream the album now through your favorite service.