By Al Carlos Hernandez
The Roget’s II Thesaurus defines the word “Cool” as: Noun: Slang. A stable, calm state of the emotions: aplomb, balance, collectedness, composure, coolness, equanimity, imperturbability, imperturbableness, nonchalance, poise, sang-froid, self-possession, unflappability.
Cool to the Touch, is trumpet master Greg Adams latest smooth jazz joint on his own label Ripa Records. The CD is all that is listed above and more. It is said that all art aspires to the level of music. Jazz is no doubt one of Americas most pervasive art forms. This one does the west coast LA-slick hipsters proud and suitable for framing.
Adams has been doing serious music for four decades, his name around musicians iconic. Straight out of High School he attended Boston’s Beklee College of music, until he received a call from Oakland’s Tower of Power then the paradigm of R&B/Funk music would be bent, popped, scooped and emulsified forever.
He has recorded and performed with the biggest names in the business, many of whom regard Greg as a big name himself; Santana, Elton John, Luther Vandross, Rod Stewart just to name a few. Cool, is his fourth solo venture. Powered by a soulful cover of Smooth Operator, his first solo album Hidden Agenda went to # 1, for well over month, his other 2 efforts faired well but pained with lack of major label support, didn’t get the air play it deserved.
Using “Cool to the Touch” as the vehicle, his lead horn and assemblage of major jazz sidemen, Greg takes you on a lyrical drop top BMW-all-the bills- are-paid road trip down the coast, fueled by the colors of sound saturated in viceral vibe opinion and emotion. The mood the music inspires somehow makes you feel hipper than you are and takes you where you need to be.
Suffice to say this is music for Grown Folks, urbane hipsters who reject the convention of cereal pop formulaic music, and have earned the finer things in life, like a vintage bottle of wine on a platinum card.
Embroidering a intricate tapestry of melodic horn arrangements, while the rhythm section holds it down, while holding it’s own, homogeneous, in radio friendly delivery, the lead cut, Felix the Cat is a staple and must for any MOR/Jazz playlist.
Speaking of renowned Cats, Richard Elliot, Boney James, Tom Scott came to blow on the session, which were filled out with the likes of Paul Jackson Jr., Nick Milo, Carmen Grillo, Joey Navarro, and Johnny Sandoval, helping the Cool- Cat lay it down in lacy layers.
As an Urban Euro Sport Drop top Driving Latino, I’m particularly impressed with the Samba styled cut, One Night in Rio, and the authentic Latin penned Bongo Baby. This CD is a must for your MP3, or your auto CD collection. Blasting Cool out of your windows at city stop lights, may make you appear to be on salary, flossing a serious expense account.
The CD is peppered with Adams signature horn clips and rides reminiscent of his earlier work, but lets the riffs glide and breathe into full statements. It rounds out to be sophisticated R&B smacked Jazz, suitable for dancing.
Cool to the touch is the kind of CD that is a keeper for your personal music stash, and a very hip gift to give to someone to show them that you have arrived.