Ravel-Keyboards,Vocals. Various personnel including special guests:
Marc Antoine-Guitar (1&11) Peter White-Guitar (4&6) Jorge Strunz,
Ardeshir Farar-Guitar (8) Eric Marienthal-Saxophone (9)
Recorded March 2000 L.A.
|| 1. Echo de Amor
2. Samba Mundial
3. Sunny Side Up
4. Bolerino Bella
5. Love Is In The Air.....When You're Aware
7. Piano Sensual
8. Dame Tu Calor
10. Dame la Razon
11. Echo de Amor (duet)
To quote the sticker attached to this CD ,"From seductive ballads
to irresistible dance tracks,Freddie Ravel brings the pulse and drive
of Latin rhythms to contemporary jazz". This is a very pleasant
recording in the Easy Listening/ Smooth Jazz category. The tempos are
certainly, on the whole, geared towards dancing.
The arrangements are slick, with a preponderance of percussion and the
guitar is often well to the fore in the mix. There are hints of some
of the smoother Isaac Hayes performances and also a Van McCoy feeling
to one or two tracks- the backing on "Sunny Side Up" reminds
me of "The Hustle". All orchestrations are by Freddie Ravel.
On "Samba Mundial" the guitar solo is evocative of Carlos
Santana as are some of the ensemble passages on other selections. The
vocals are adequate - both chorus and solo - although they are not mixed
as clearly as they could have been. In fact they sometimes seem to be
used as another section in the instrumental background. ("Love
Is In The Air")
Freddie Ravel has a clean, uncluttered keyboard style. His solos being
more an integral part of the whole concept rather than a strong personal
statement . He uses space to great effect to emphasise the rhythmic
nature of many of the selections. The interplay between the acoustic
guitar and the piano on tunes such as "Conversations" and
"Echo de Amor" is a most telling device.
Eric Marienthal is featured, on alto, to good effect on "Summerplay"
both as a part of the ensemble on the introduction and in a couple of
brief solos. His style is firmly rooted in Grover Washington Jr. but
he does not exhibit quite the same intensity on this performance.
I enjoyed this disc, it is not what I would term "serious listening
" but is a good dance record or ,equally, highly suitable to play
whilst driving or doing one's chores!
D.S. is a professional reed player and teacher living in Coventry.