Acoustic Alchemy

AArt

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Presented as the apex of a metamorphoses begun on Beautiful Game toward a more filled out group sound, leader Greg Carmichael accents his trademark nylon string guitar style with a horn section. Considered one of the defining arbiters of smooth jazz, Acoustic Alchemy actually lean more to the pop side of the genre, often betraying more than a passing interest in soul music. The songs on AArt are no exception. The curiously titled "Viva Che" -- for Guavara? -- is straight-up Latin disco lite, á la Jamiroquai, replete with Moog keyboard swirls and Brazilian percussion hiccups. The first single, "Wish You Were Near," showcasing Snake Davis on tenor sax, features Carmichael at his dramatic best, soloing over an up-tempo groove backed by Philly soul-style horn hits. Longtime Alchemy buffs will no doubt find much to enjoy on this disc, and, despite the processed sound of some backing instruments -- full keyboard strings -- the inclusion of many retro-'70s disco era techniques may appeal to a wider dance-oriented audience.

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