CD: Cool Breeze
Recording Label: Shanachie
Favorite Song: "Ties That Bind"
An emerging young artist has captured Atlanta's competitive spirit on CD. He's Keyboardist/ Producer/Arranger Bob Baldwin. His latest release, "Cool Breeze" is so cool that it will definitely warm the hearts of ANY contemporary jazz piano lover. The first thing that struck me about this CD was the clarity and crispness of the way Bob tickles the keys and how he switches back and forth between the traditional piano and it's electronic counterpart. Bob Baldwin plays to the heart of the C-Jazz lover's feel good sensors "Cool Breeze" is the first solo album done by Bob Baldwin in over five years, and his first with Shanachie Records (shan-ache-key). He teams up with long time friend, and accomplished saxman Marion Meadows, Tad Gulley, drummer extraordinary, and the legendary Larry Correll on electric and acoustic guitars. These gentlemen, with the help of others, create a fresh, airy escape from the ordinary and mundane. Throughout the album, Bob blends the old with the new to come up with a CD made for the people. Bob plays covers of tunes that range from the Bert Bacharach clefed "Walk On By" to the Seals and Croft standard "Summer Breeze". Bob states his reasoning for the inclusion of non-original tunes among his hot off the press pieces as a way of bringing about a closer relationship between him and his audience. As he puts it: "Certain tunes give both me and my audience a certain warm fuzzy feeling. The key is to take those songs to another level, so people can reflect on their memories while enjoying a new challenge. There’s a connection which can bond me with the listener, a reference point we can both relate to." I can relate! The original compilations Bob doles out are rich and very self-expressive. "Hot Fun in the Sun", "Vi's Pies", and "Bahia Maria" are examples of such. Each has its own way of delivering Bob's unique cornucopia of Latin dance, street rhythms and silky samba, all of which serve the listener by keeping them on the edge of their ear, striving for the next beat. Always in the thick of things, Bob Baldwin likes to call his style "PBJ Music," for pop, blues and jazz. Bob Baldwin uses his considerable background as producer/writer/arranger in all genres of music to come up with something that offers the listener a choice of moods to swing by. "Cool Wind Blowing" and "Give In To Love" and "Ties That Bind" are benchmark tunes that set the foundation for Bob's aspiration to spread inner peace. He has been quoted as saying that he writes in the attempt to convey an underlying spiritual overtone. Sliding syllables from the sleeve, "The CD has an inner peace that perpetuates like a cool wind blowing on an autumn day as Karl Lagerfeld says, 'For the Moment'". With iced tea goodness, Bob gets the job done. "Cool Breeze" has become one of my favorite albums purchased thus far this year. The mixture between bop and blues, fun with funk, will keep you reaching for the replay button again and again. It is jazz the place to find comfort in an often times uncomfortable world.