When critics speak of smooth jazz, they try to liken it to “elevator music.” So very misleading. As we all know, we have varying levels of “smooth” in this industry. A case in point would be the latest release from pianist Roberto Vazquez, Between Two Worlds, a soothing, very melodic, and well-produced collection of enticing tracks that are just suited for that shoreline drive either alone or with that someone special.
Performed in a very solid, very exacting way without being overbearing, the pianist takes you into a world of serenity, bliss, and cool. The music sways and captures the senses almost in a modest way, even while Vazquez plays in a most competent and confident manner. Often reminding one of Hardcastle’s or Rick Kelly’s mellower moods, this entire album does a wonderful job of projecting that mood. No in-your-face material, but certainly a lot of in-your-heart-and-soul material. Melody is the key word here, along with the very well-phrased and arranged tracks. Tracks like “In the Rain” and “Simple Life” breathe the essence of beauty into the project.
To add to the album’s charm, Vazquez brings in a sax giant and one who surely knows how to set a romantic, chilled out mood, Marion Meadows, on a couple of tracks (“Never Far Away” and the island-tinged “Sand Dancers”). This addition takes the project farther into a zone full of touchy feely sensations.
In addition to being well-written and produced, combining strings, piano, and sax has given this project a sultry and very satisfying presence. Between whatever two worlds Vazquez want to travel, I want to come along. A great effort. – Ronald Jackson