Jeff Kashiwa

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Jeff Kashiwa's longtime tenure with the Rippingtons (perhaps the ultimate launching pad for successful instrumental solo artists) has primed him for putting together this recording, easily one of the most dynamic and diverse woodwind collections of the mid-'90s. Fans familiar with his takes on classic Ripps gems should know that we may just have another Nelson Rangell on our hands in terms of do it all ability. His compositional hooks and potent horn snap over a crazed and very busy slew of production values bend your ear from the beginning, but that's what you'd expect from someone who came of age under Russ Freeman's tutelage. Above and beyond the brassy funk explosions and a spirited cover of an old Spinners classic, however, is a tender traditional side of Kashiwa's personality, as on the David Benoit tinged closer "A Familiar Place" and the Tim Weisberg like "The Asian Persuasion," on which the hopeless romantic breezes in on alto flute. And his production skills are sharp and awe inspiring. Adding Dave Samuels' vibes and marimba genius to winners like the title cut and the rich, bluesy "Mardi Gras" is another stroke of magnificence in a tropical, artsy jazz vein. No doubt an ode to the annual Jazz Trax festival on Catalina Island, Kashiwa seems intent on making this a trip no seafaring pop-jazz adventurer will ever forget.

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