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Soulidified by Richard Smith

Guitarist Richard Smith offers arrangements that soothe and groove in his eighth solo album, Soulidified. In the past, Smith has played with the likes of Marc Antoine, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Kirk Whalum and Peter White. This current album features guest appearances by Alex Acuna (percussion), Brian Bromberg (bass), Brian Culbertson (keyboards/trombone), Jeff Kashiwa (saxophone), Jeff Lorber (keyboards/rhythm guitar) and Freddie Ravel (keyboards).

The track, "Sing A Song" with smooth jazz artist, Brian Culbertson, has hit the airwaves with a passionate vibe. Possessing a good hook and vibrant guitar work, the song flows with a danceable melody. Background vocals are lightly presented in a funky arrangement that spices up the mix.

With the exception of the cover tune, "Sing a Song," Smith wrote or co-wrote the entire album. Smith is a diversely talented guitarist that isn’t afraid to vary his style. The musical influences in Soulidified range from funky R&B to contemporary jazz. Co-written with Lorber, "Whatz Up?!" is rhythmically smooth, while "O’Bluze" is full of soul and emotion. "Beyond the Mountains" changes gears with stirring Latin vibes and the guitar work in "Inspired by You" possesses a distinctly romantic voice. There is definitely something for every palate in this collection.

On a side note, Smith is an avid educator and tenured professor at the Thornton School at the University of Southern California. Smith gives back to his community via the GuitarMasters program that he founded in 2002. GuitarMasters offers free lessons, guitars and mentoring to children in the South Central Los Angeles area. At-risk youth are given much needed after-school programs, while receiving the benefits of a solid musical education.

Cheryl Hughey is a member of the Jazz Journalists Association. She is a freelance writer and regular contributor to newsprint, trades and Internet jazz publications.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Richard Smith
  • CD Title: Soulidified
  • Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Modern
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: A440 Music Group
  • Rating: Five Stars
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