Brent Black / @CriticalJazz
Whether you call it smooth jazz or contemporary instrumental, Chuck Loeb simply makes great music. Since taking over for Larry Carlton in perhaps the last successful contemporary instrumental super group Fourplay, he continues to utilize the friends and family approach to make some of the most consistently entertaining music available to jazz fans today. Silhouette features vocal cameos from his wife Carmen Cuesta, and his daughters Lizzy and Christina Loeb on vocals and ukelele respectively. Toss in guest shots from legendary drummers Peter Erskine and Steve Gadd along with bassists Nathan East and Will Lee and we find that special level of consistency that is the Loeb musical calling card simply kicked up another notch!
Unlike similar recordings of what amounts to little more than ear candy played by the same predictable co-conspirators, Loeb presents Silhouette in four different ensembles. The Appreciation Band handles half of the release and sets the tone for the breakdown that follows. The Family Band including Will Lee and Steve Gadd shine with "Lockdown" while The December 7th Trio is a reminder of one of Loeb's most successful ensembles with organ phenom Pat Bianchi and under rated saxophonist Andy Snitzer simply "killin' it" with "Stompin." Loeb's latin flavor is highlighted with the beautifully organic vocals from wife Carmen Cuesta on "Esta Tarde Vi Llover." Daughter Lizzy Loeb turns in yet another pristine vocal with "My One and Only Love" raising the musical question of not if but when a release of standards featuring the young Loeb will be turned out by "the family business." Not to be outdone and closing out an incredibly solid release daughter Christina Loeb turns out a ukelele performance on "Las Eras" that would make even the great Eddie Veder proud.
Chuck Loeb doesn't attempt to reinvent the musical wheel nor does he move terribly far outside his wheelhouse, he doesn't need to. What the elder Loeb does manage to do is take what has worked incredibly well over the last decade and elevate his game with well executed compositions and a cast of characters that truly understand the musical ground zero that is the sonic DNA of one of the most versatile players in contemporary instrumental music. The variety from a compositional standpoint coupled with a dynamic mix in presentation has Silhouette as arguably Loeb's finest release to date.
Chuck Loeb simply makes a good thing better!
Tracks: Silhouette; Silver Lining; Present Tense; Appreciation; JT; Lockdown; Stompin'; Esta Tarde Vi Llover; My One and Only Love; Las Eras.
Personnel: The Appreciation Band (1-5) Mitchell Forman: Piano, Electric Piano; Organ; String and Keyboard Arrangements; Eric Marienthal: Alto Sax; David Mann: String and Horn Arrangements, Alto Sax, Nathan East: Acoustic and Electric Basses; Peter Erskine: Drums; David Charles: Percussion. The Family Band (6) Will Lee: Bass; Oli Rockberger: Piano; Electric Piano; Melodica; Giulio Carmassi: Trumpet; Steve Gadd: Drums. The December 7th Trio: Pat Bianchi: Organ; Wolfgang Haffner: Drums; Andy Snitzer: Tenor Sax. The Musigrama All Stars (8) Moises P. Sanchez: Piano; Tono Miguel: Acoustic Bass; Yuvisney Aguilar: Percussion; Jose San Martin: Drums.
Carmen Cuesta: Vocal: Esta Tarde Vi Llover
Lizzy Loeb: Vocal: My One and Only Love
Christina Loeb: Ukelele, Las Heras
Chuck Loeb: Guitars