Ronny Smith

Simply Stated

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The title of this still inexplicably under the radar electric funk guitarist's fourth release makes it easier to say the obvious: simply stated, this is uptempo, grooving smooth jazz at its finest, on par with recent works of genre superstars like Jeff Golub and Norman Brown. Ronny Smith's bio says he's been a proud longtime member of the Army band, and our servicemen are no doubt in high morale listening to Smith's mix of buoyant, percussive gems (the bubbling over "Laidback Remix") and easygoing romances ("She's So Special Remix"). These two tracks are no doubt reworkings of previously released tracks, but are good primers for listeners new to the Smith experience. He gets the toes tappin' George Benson and Norman Brown style from the get go, as "Bossa Awhile" leaps off with a bright, wild, just slightly Brazilian sensibility. Smith then takes it easier with a chill-out type tune (featuring a prominent bass and trumpet line) and edges more exotic on "Majorca Remix." Smooth jazz in the mid-2000s had a slight overkill of cover tunes, but his thumping take on Steely Dan's "Josie" is still worthwhile. He also shows off his heartfelt spiritual colors on "Fallin' in Love with Jesus," a beautiful Jonathan Butler composition that is a staple of the writer's live set but is not on any of his secular CDs; the vocal by William Banks doesn't have the intensity of Butler's original recording, but the sentiment is unmistakably glorious. Smith's noble dedication to his calling in the Army is perhaps what's keeping him from entertaining the masses, but this CD will go a long way towards breaking him through to larger genre acclaim.

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