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CD REVIEW: Bradford Rogers - Guiro
By Cyrus Rhodes - 02/06/2012 - 05:25 PM EST

Artist: Bradford Rogers
Album: Guiro
Label: Emerging Music Network
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Sounds Like: The Rippingtons, Kirk Whalum, Dave Koz
Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 8/10
Best Songs: The Opener, Are you Going with Me
Weakness: A Few WInded Songs
CD Review:

Georgia-based Jazz Flutist Bradford Rogers release his latest 5 song EP release “Guiro” released in 2011. Rogers is a fascinating artists as he combines traditional African and Latin styles of music yet with postmodern Jazz, Pop-Rock and even Electronica feel to it.  

The EP gently takes to flight with the title track an intoxicating intro piece that flows and ebbs its way through to musical fruition. This first piece serves up impressive Flute accents against atypical Smooth Jazz rhythm, impressive melody and a grand slam chorus. Track 2 “Are You Going With Me” keeps things moving in the dynamic direction with classic Smooth Jazz groove, meshed against impressive atmospheric nuances with rock steady rhythm section and infectious flute melody. Track 3 “Chance (Intermezzo) serves up easy flowing piece served up against mesmerizing melodies and smooth as silk groove. The EP makes a great first impression providing 3 solid musical experiences in a row. Musical textures reminiscent of the typical Smooth Jazz but there is an undeniable Jethro Tull flair to it. You can also notice the African and Latin influences as well. As the EP slowly unfolds you will notice most of the songs are very smooth and easy flowing in nature, with crystal clear high end clarity and solid low end feel. The production delivers much in the way of Instrumentation as well: along with the 4 piece standard one will experience well-placed Percussive accents, Electronica sampling and accents, Keyboard and synthesizer, sizzling solo guitar, solid rhythm section groove and world class woodwind virtuoso. Now turning our attention over to Rogers. As far as his playing ability let me just go on record to say he brilliantly fuses all of the aforementioned. This is allot harder than it sounds, Rogers pulls it off flawlessly. If that’s not a compliment I don’t know what is. He clearly knows how to fill the sonic space with amazing playing that flows across the ears like fine wine. The music itself goes down smooth and fills the atmosphere with what I would describe as Smooth Jazz Tranquility. All in all the EP has some truly impressive moments showcasing impressive playing, songwriting, rhythm, chops and a few dynamic grooves all rich in melody and flavor. From Slamming “The Opener” to All Blues” this the perfect finale statement for a EP of this caliber, this EP has something for just about everyone.

I love Smooth Jazz but for the record let me say I would not call this music Gold Standard Contemporary Jazz. Smooth Jazz is indeed impressive in its own right and has a much more mainstream, marketable appeal. I give artists like The Rippingtons, Dave Koz and Bradford Rogers kudos for taking the edge off a million elevator rides across this country each and every day.  It’s fair to say a few track are a bit winded overall for Smooth Jazz standards.

After spending some time with Bradford Rogers it's hard to find any solid weaknesses worth mentioning. Instead as the EP progressed I became more and more impressed with the production as a whole. What I like most about the EP is it refuses to try too hard. "Guiro” is an impressive musical production from start to finish. There’s not really a weak song on this entire catalog period! The songs are infectious and catchy. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. Last but not least - the playing, writing and production abilities of Bradford Rogers are to die for. Trust me when I say “Guiro” will suck you in like a drug and never let you go.

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