www.thesmoothjazzride.com - Roberto Vazquez – Between Two Worlds

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