Bob Baldwin – Bob Baldwin Presents The American Spirit (2018)

Bob Baldwin - Bob Baldwin Presents The American Spirit (2018)
Artist: Bob Baldwin
Album: Bob Baldwin Presents The American Spirit
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Origin: USA
Released: 2018
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
God Bless America (4:54)
Bridge Over Troubled Water (5:36)
My Country Tis Of Thee (3:58)
Shower The People (5:33)
America The Beautiful (2:34)
Follow Your Dream (5:15)
Lift Every Voice – Count The Ways (5:45)
Color Blind (5:35)
Let’s Roll! (5:18)
The Star Spangled Banner (4:55)
God Bless The Usa (3:14)


Considering how much popular smooth jazz artists love to play on each other’s projects, and especially for a good cause — in this case, the victims’ assistance program Safe Horizon — it’s surprising that it took its musical community almost a year to emerge with its first tribute to America post 9/11. Bob Baldwin is hardly a household name in the genre, but he’s been faithfully cranking out some of its funkiest keyboard projects over the past decade. Even if he’s a little too synth-and-drum-machine reliant, this is still a fun project which captures the joyful spirit of America in the wake of a troubled time. He bookends the set with two classics on which he plays all the instruments. His lively “God Bless America” offers the Jeff Lorber/ Fender Rhodes retro-keyboard approach, while “God Bless the USA” features the same in a more restrained setting. The overall success of the project is due to his collaborations with saxophonist Kim Waters. There’s an easy funk reading of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” the original, gospel-flavored “Lift Every Voice/Count The Ways,” Marion Meadows on the shuffling original “Let’s Roll!” and Dean James — who did a few solid genre albums in the mid-’90s — on the joyful anthem “Color Blind.” Phil Perry’s powerful falsetto is utilized to powerful emotional effect on “My Country Tis of Thee,” but the staid arrangement throughout most of “Shower the People” doesn’t give him room to strut his stuff; the best part of this tune is Chuck Loeb’s crisp soloing throughout.
Review by Jonathan Widran

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