Monday, October 31, 2016

Album Review: Rendezvous by Kelly Andrew

Kelly Andrew is a musician and composer whose latest album Rendezvous was produced by Will Ackerman, Tom Eaton and himself, as well as recorded at Will’s Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont. Centered upon themes of romance, reflection and passion, Kelly contributes keyboards, synthesizers and programming to these twelve and often jazzed-up contemporary instrumental compositions. He is joined variably throughout by a talented musical ensemble of which includes Duke Levine and Randy Chavez on guitar, Tony Levin and Bijoux Barbosa on bass, Charlie Bisharat on violin, Eugene Friesen on cello, Premik Russell Tubs on sax and woodwinds, Jill Haley on English horn and oboe, Steve Holley and Christian Teele on drums, Jeff Haynes and Christian Teele on percussion, Gus Sebring on French horn, and Noah Wilding on wordless vocals.

“Chasing Twilight” leads the album with sultry electric guitar and drifty piano notes over a slick bassline and infectious groove, collectively lending this beautifully bold opener a jazz-funk vibe. “Hand in Hand” follows next and is comparatively more sentimental, additionally featuring woodwinds, violin and acoustic guitar set to a moderately-paced rhythm. “Painted Butterfly” continues in this mode, where a warmly-lit ensemble of piano, strings and guitar seemingly capture the essence of an afternoon sunset. “Awake in a Dream” is perhaps my favorite track on the album and seemingly perfect for late-night listening. Imbued with a romantic chill-jazz vibe, the intimate and lush atmosphere of this piece is sensually enhanced throughout by a melodic interplay of piano and sultry sax. The title track, “Rendezvous”, easily paints an image of a dancing couple beneath the moonlight on an evening pier, which is seemingly illustrated by its soulful sax and chic piano riff accompanied by a lively smooth jazz groove. I’m also particularly fond of “Looking Back”, a leisurely-paced number that bears hints of nostalgia and reflection. It comparatively captures a more rural essence with its down-to-earth rhythm and acoustic multi-instruments. “Lonely Road” is another favorite in the chill-jazz vein, likewise conveying a nocturnal sultriness with its lounge-like ensemble of piano, sax and sumptuous rhythm. Closing out the album is the aptly-titled “Hope”, a positively inspirational piece featuring piano, cello and French horn.

A thoroughly rewarding album of sleek sophistication, Rendezvous seems to tell a lover’s story which moves through the course of evening, dawn and sunset. Colorfully enhanced throughout by its contributing instrumentalists, Kelly Andrew musically paints images of both scenic rural landscapes and chic metropolitan venues. Listeners, especially, who enjoy contemporary instrumental music with notable chill-jazz flavors are sure to savor the romantic spices of these delectable compositions! ~Candice Michelle

For more information please visit the artist's website. This album is also available at Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.