Review: Smooth-Jazz.de Germany

Los Angeles, California based composer and keyboardist Mark Etheredge started his solo career with the album As Dawn (1990), a New Age debut. With Dean Wong he founded the duo Mark & Dean releasing the albums Walking Into Freedom (1999) and Man Of My Dreams (2000). 2012 followed adult contemporary vocal session Change Coming. With his new album Connected he reached the contemporary jazz realm. 

Mark calls his new project his happiest album. The album was produced by Paul Brown and lists prolific musicians like guitarists Paul Brown and Chuck Loeb,  drummer Gorden Campbell, bassist Roberto Vally and percussionist Richie Gajate Garcia, further trumpeter Lee Thornburg and saxophonists Greg Vail and Andy Suzuki. 

The relaxing Groovin' With My Baby starts the album with a catchy warmhearted melody. Be Who You Are follows continuing the uplifting and positive mood. 

Roger That attracts with a solid horn arrangement out of the feather of trumpeter Lee Thornburg. Mark's elegant piano play does the rest to convince the audience. With the title song he has a hot iron in the fire. Especially the classy keyboard performance delivers that retro disco feeling of Give Me The Night. 

On Lost In The Shuffle Thornburg and Vail do anew a fantastic job creating a blistering horn arrangement. On Cherry Cha Mark expands his affinity for Latin jazz. The affective For Your Love features guitarist Chuck Loeb, currently member of the group Fourplay. Chuck shines and levels the tune to a first class smooth jazz piece. 

Bing Bang Boom boasts with a hooking melody line and a big dose of jazzy impact. Mark's piano work on Rain is superb. Impeccable technique, silky smooth piano lines, and a  special finesse in the details are making it to a better one. Soul Clap Honey shows an attractive combination of vitality and glamour. Andy Suzuki on thrilling sax and a well positioned Mark on piano and Wurlitzer give this piece the necessary pizzazz. 

Mark Etheredge has thrown down with Connected his musical gauntlet in the competition of the best smooth jazz piano player. We will certainly hear more of this gifted musician in the near future.

- Smooth-Jazz.de