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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



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BRIAN KELLY

Afterplay

Skylight Music SL 1002

 

 


1. River Rush
2. Smiling South
3. New Vision
4. Snowflakes Rising
5. Flavor Seven
6. Afterplay
7. Heaven On Earth
8. Celtic Fire
9. Stone Shine
10. Reach For The Stars
11. Sunchaser


Brian Kelly - Piano, keyboards, percussion, pennywhistle, voice
Eric Crystal - Alto sax (tracks 1, 6)
David Rokeach - Drums (tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, 8)
Ross Wilson - Trumpet, trombone (track 2)
Tim Bolling - Percussion (tracks 2, 9, 10)
Viviana Guzman - Flute (tracks 3, 7)
Carol Alban - Flute (track 7)
James Robinson - Guitar (tracks 9, 11)

This is American keyboardist Brian Kelly's second album and it has already got into the top three of New Age Reporter's list of the Top 100. Of course, "New Age" is a dirty word for some jazz fans, as is "smooth jazz" (both suggesting insubstantiability) - and Brian Kelly's music seems to have a foot in both camps, as well as qualifying as jazz. Kelly creates a buoyant sound which in some ways resembles the music of Pat Metheny's popular groups, both in its floating atmosphere and its insistence on the importance of melody. These qualities make the album very accessible.

Kelly's swirling keyboards provide a rich sound, with touches of diversity from such things as the slightly West Indian ambience of Smiling South and the folky atmosphere of Celtic Fire. River Rush effectively conjures up the image of a fast-running stream, while Snowflakes Rising employs the keyboards to picture snowflakes blowing in the wind. Brian Kelly is assisted by Eric Crystal, who plays some neat sax solos on a couple of tracks.

All this is very happy - often beautiful - music but, after a while, it begins to sound samey: with its airy, resonant keyboards and a style that only varies a little from track to track. It makes for a cheerfully smooth listening experience, but the word "smooth" suggests that it is a bit too close to smooth jazz for the comfort of jazz purists.

Tony Augarde

 

 

 



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