An early key element to the future smooth jazz success of saxophonist Euge Groove was his massive success on the MP3.com website, which even before Myspace allowed unknowns to gain a following via digital downloads. Pianist, keyboardist, and composer Chris Geith emerged in the later 2000s with a similar story, having earned write-ups in the New York Times by being one of the most streamed/downloaded instrumental artists in MP3 history, with over 1.4 million hits. His first album, Prime Time, sold in 23 countries, and his Myspace page in 2007 racked up over 20,000 listens for Timeless World's first radio single "Waves of Life" and the buoyant opening track "Groove Detective." As compelling a track as it is, what's curious about the success of "Waves of Life" is that it's like no other tune on the album. The Manhattan School of Music grad's bread and butter is the hip and rhythmic, coolly soulful melodic piano magic that livens up the smoothie airwaves, very much in the infectious spirit of Gregg Karukas and Brian Simpson. It's light and fluffy and on the surface but with a deeper jazz and soul sensibility underneath. "Groove Detective," the title track, and "Zero Gravity" are instantly likeable reflections of this popular style. So it was no doubt a calculated risk to go with the moody, locomotive, Pat Metheny-sque "Waves of Life" as the first single -- it's energetic but atmospheric, melodic yet moody, and features more lead parts by well known indie jazz guitarist Matt Marshak (also the founder of Nuance Music Group) than any other track. Geith enters the song a few minutes in with some dazzling solo spots, but the song is mostly about Marshak and the vibe. This track definitely shows a deeper artistry than many of the others, but those who expect the rest of the disc to have its edge will be greeted instead with a sweetness more typical of most smooth jazz play lists. For overall listening enjoyment -- which is of course what the genre is all about -- however, this ranks as one of the finest indie discs of 2007.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran