Imagine yourself after a night of cool jazz at a Caribbean nightspot in the "New Sunshine" of the next morning. With that in mind, you now have an appreciation of the warm, friendly sounds of Mekiel Reuben. His second release for MekMuse records, Simply Peaceful is a collection of Afro-Caribbean jazz tunes that play like a restful night's sleep -- even and pacified. Unlike the "clavé police," those overzealous guardians of the Afro-Cuban rhythmic flame, Mekiel Reuben demonstrates a perfect segué into sweet music and sweet dreams along this soothing, poetic cruise. His explosive saxophone style has been compared to the likes of Grover Washington, Jr., Stanley Turrentine and John Klemmer, and not without foundation. Breezy calypso, reggae and Latin rhythms show up on such tracks as "2 B In Rio," "Understanding" and the title track, "Simply Peaceful." Mekiel reharmonizes and rhythmically mixes grooves that range from cool, tropical cookers to the uptempo beats heard on "For Max." From beginning to end, Simply Peaceful lives up to the intensity and improvisational style of Afro-Caribbean jazz while exemplifying the exceptional jazz credentials of Mekiel Reuben.
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein