'Second Thoughts' by Albert Calvo - reviewed by Chris Mann Produced by Noel Elmowy - Associate Producers Christopher Soulos & Albert Calvo. Guitarist and composer Albert Calvo began his music career at the age of seven and very soon was playing the popular songs of the day. In high school, Albert formed a band that successfully supported and played alongside many top Australian artists. The encouragement of many of these artists led Albert to move to Sydney to pursue a passion in classical guitar. During the next 8 fruitful years, he studied with some of the world's finest classical musicians including Dr. Peter Calvo, Turibio Santos, Oscar Caseres and John Williams. He performed in the premier performance of Australian Composer Peter Sculthorp's 'Conquest of Mexico' which was headed by the late great jazz guitarist Joe Pass and classical guitar virtuoso John Williams. Albert then became artist in residence for the North Queensland Arts Company and began to turn his interest to jazz music. Composition and songwriting became an integral part of his new direction which has led to the release of his debut CD 'Pass it On' and more recently 'Second Thoughts'. Albert has a very mellow touch on electric guitar - compare him to Chieli Minucci maybe - and his sound works perfectly on the bright opener Late Last Nite. The tune has some nice funky touches - the tenor sax is very upfront and the 'guitar heroes' break in the middle makes me smile. The whole song makes me smile in fact... The title track is funky but with a hint of latin and it drives along just fine with Christopher Soulos' smooth bass and some great off-the-beat playing by ace drummer Chad Wackerman. It's sunny stuff and Noel Elmowy's touch on the keyboards and behind the desk is just right to these ears. Tombeau is a more relaxed, bluesy song. Melodically it's very strong and I find myself comparing Calvo's clean sound with some of my favourite guitarists. Listen for Michael Rose getting' country on that steel pedal guitar. You'll be forgiven for thinking Carlton's walked in on Fred's Blues. The smoky organ is atmospheric - my God so is that sneaky muted trumpet solo. Steve Gadd's lazy snare leaves the soloists lots of room - beautiful. Searchin' has a gentle dance beat and a very simple bassline. It's also got some great percussion which gives a pretty break before the groove - and the guitar - move up a gear. I'd love to hear this performed live, where I reckon it could gel slightly better than on record. The less exuberant moments on this album are touching rather than morose. Impressions of Home is a slow and very deliberate song and you need to keep listening because there are some neat changes in there. Now, Just Thinkin' has a nice funky groove that grabs you from the opening bar. That sinewy guitar, the organ, the electric piano and the muted trumpet just ride this big beat like crazy Aussie surfers on a big wave. Rewind!! I was almost expecting to hear Astrud Gilberto on the intro to the dreamy Same Day Samba. I was glad to finally hear Calvo on acoustic guitar and I'd like to hear more of his acoustic work. Soulos' bass momentarily steps forward before the long vamp out with vibes, nice percussion and breathy Shakatak-style female vocals. Keep Smiling is very bright and 'up' tune which moves around a lot and features that pedal steel guitar again. Highlight is Elmowy's very slick electric piano solo. I think Mr. Calvo must have liked some 70's funk because the groove on Reunion is dangerous. I want to hear Soulos' bass a lot more. He is knockout on this song. His lines double up with guitar and sax alternately like Wayman Tisdale. This song is the bomb - I'm even nodding my head while I'm scribbling notes. Land Richards' drumming on Norman Brown's albums has always done it for me and it sure as heck does here. Oh yeah, the 70's jazz-funk vibe is alive. Yee-haw! Tee Hee is a country rock boogaloo which belongs in a 'Dukes of Hazzard' chase scene. It's done with great humour - and stunning musicianship! The radio edit of Late Last Nite doesn't have the 'guitar heroes' break and is certainly more suitable for airplay as a result. On Albert Calvo's second solo album, as far as I'm concerned, he's already in the big league. If you've enjoyed the music of Steve Laury, Russ Freeman, Chris Standring or Chieli Minucci, I urge you to hear this. Calvo wrote or co-wrote all the music here and has assembled a group of musicians who should be household names. Aussie's will know what I mean when I say I'm stoked! Astounding! Smooth & Soul ----------------- CD Title: 'Second Thoughts' Reviewed by: Kim Tucker Record Label: Vintage Music Style: Smooth Jazz Musicians: Albert Calvo, guitar, Noel Elmowy, keyboards, Christopher Soulos, bass, Land Richards, drums, Andrew Oh, sax, Keren Minshull and Tansy Mayhew, vocals plus other musicians. Review: Vintage smooth jazz with a kick. Albert Calvo brings to mind the early days of smooth jazz playing guitar much like Earl Klugh, Emily Remler and Lee Ritenour. The opening song, 'Late Last Nite' starts the CD off with a jump and it never stops. 'Second Thoughts' is a Latin inspired song and Tombeau (Song for Burg)is a slow romantic number with the addition of the pedal steel. You'll swoon romantically on 'Same Day Samba' or jump up and dance on 'Keep Smiling' or take a visit to the Grand Ole Opry on 'Tee Hee.' Whatever your mood, 'Second Thoughts' has something for everyone! Reviewed by: Kim Tucker Jazzreview.com.
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