If you enjoy smooth jazz, each tune on this latest offering by songwriter, keyboardist, and arranger Bobby Wells will strike your ear as brilliant corners and faces of a resplendent jewel. That is if you could hear a gemstone shine.
Wells’ clean sound and crisp production reminds me of precious jewels beautifully displayed on black and blue crushed velvet in glass cases. Wells’ and his musical crew obviously know their way around plenty of old-school grooves, up-tempo positive affirmations with “road trip favorite” written all over them; and pure, raw musicality in service of sweet lyricism.
This cd shines first with She’s Playful, a playful romp featuring Michael O’Neal on guitar and bass. Wells’ keyboard stylings take us on a laid back melodic ride with guitarist O’Neil’s solo notes adding the appropriate voicings and sparkle to the composition.
End of Summer eases into the set at mid-tempo with the warm welcoming tenor saxophone sounds of Darren Rahn. Dr. Isidro Aybar Jr. and saxophonist Rahn tastefully keep Wells’ keyboard melody well within their solos. Aybar’s acoustic guitar solo glows with the mellow intensity of an “end of summer” sunset on this track.
From the first note, cd title song Back in the Day comes in doing a two-step dance inviting us to a simpler time with family and friends gathering – like back in the day. Back in the Day brings to mind that good feeling of being deep in the pocket with Wells and Yvonne Brown blessing the groove with a soothing vocal refrain. It makes you feel like getting up and doing your best two-step, right then and right there.
And these guys play golf too. Tee It Up features Wells’ friend and Grammy nominated artist, saxophonist Gerald Albright (and one of my personal favorites) on bass guitar with a more up-tempo beat. I love this music and the creative labor weighing in on the music.
Count It All Joy follows with more up tempo, positive vibes featuring Wells and Yvonne Brown on “smoove” vocals. Wells’ music evokes such goodness and hope for a better life that tears and disappointment cannot contain. Where there’s joy, there’s peace. Just let Bobby and Yvonne declare it.
My Sweet Butterfly simmers down the pace with Wells singing sweetly along to Bob Rebholz’s flute with notes flying gently around the tune like a butterfly seeking a firm place to rest. A beautiful song.
While Gerald Albright is well known for his unique saxophone sound and compositions, he shows off his niceness on lead bass on Bella’s Pier. With support from Wells on keyboard and O’Neil on guitar, Albright’s bass lead as it goes off into another one of Wells’ highly evocative musical landscapes.
Wells and daughter Brandy Wells-Spurlock sing together on Ooh Baby making this CD is veryup-beat, easy to listen to, yet so full of great musicianship and taste.
Deep Blue segues with more of Wells musical magic grooves – radio-friendly, high production values and expertly executed. Don’t sleep on this brother. Every jam speaks for itself.
End of Summer reprises the second track played in such a beautiful way by Dr. Aybar on acoustic guitar who goes into the inward parts of a tune and caresses it ever so gently, reminding me of guitarists such as Dori Caymmi and Caetano Veloso, both Brazilian and well worth the listen. These musicians bring a special flavor and nuance to romantic, reflective melodies like our friend the good doctor, Dr. Isidro Aybar Jr., who brings the music down like a soft, soothing rain on the listener’s ear.
Vantage Point is a jazzy, funky encore tying together all the great, preceding tunes. And, track 12 DJ Request is what everyone shall do upon hearing this cycle of 11 songs by Bobby Wells.
When asked how he felt about this project, Wells’ says, “I’m a “giggler” so allow me to define in my own way: Whenever someone plays an instrument and kills it…I giggle. And I can assure you that there was a lot of giggling going on while producing this project.
These latest of musical gems by Denver’s own Bobby Wells should definitely be in your CD collection and list of gift buying for the upcoming holiday season. Back in the Day will stay in your cd rotation for a long time. This entire collection of songs glows from somewhere deep inside Well’s soul, and the musical blessings flow – and that’s nothing to giggle about. Trust the Goat, peace and bless ‘till next time.
Editor’s note: For more information on Bobby Wells, visit www.bobbywellsmusic. com. To order the Back In The Day CD or other CD’s by Bobby Wells, visit www.cdbaby.com/all/bwsmooth.