By: Keivu G. Knox
Brian Simpson "Persuasion" 11/18/16
Record Label: Shanachie Records
Brian Simpson has transformed himself into a regular smooth jazz hit maker in recent years, and with his latest offering, “Persuasion,” it is easy to see why. His infectious grooves, along with his effortless nature on the piano, results in a tremendous combo that grabs us at every moment. At 43 minutes in length, Brian stays efficient, yet effective on this project. I just wished that it was longer!
Things get cooking very quickly on the opening track of the album, which is also the title track. Boney James is also featured on this song. One thing was clear to me after the first listen, he and Brian show us their ability to easily do what the title of the song says. It doesn’t take much to get into this uptempo cut. “Wonderland” is the second song on the album, and it raises the bar even higher. I love how this song is driven by timely percussion and it keeps the song moving at a nice pace.
I can tell if I’m really going to like an album when there’s a song that becomes difficult to skip, but easy to repeat. This album has three songs that fall into this category for me! “One and Only,” is a mellow groove that has great sax work by Steve Alaniz. “Lost in Love” features Peter White on guitar and may have my favorite melody out of all ten tracks of the album. “Surreal Theme” is a track that has multiple layers to it that drew me in. It moves from a Go-Go influenced beat on the chorus to lush romantic music in the matter of moments. I found it to be unique and engaging at the same time.
Little did I think as a teenage that the writer behind the Pop/R&B hit “The First Time” by Surface, would craft out a successful career in Smooth Jazz 20+ years later. It speaks to the versatility that Brian has, and this album is the perfect example of that.
Persuasion is a project that should be on everyone’s Holiday shopping list this year, as Brian gave us the gift of 10 tracks that keeps you interested, soothes your ears, mind and soul, and leave you wanting more.