David Boswell is a talented composer/arranger/guitarist who crafts intricate aural soundscapes offering the listener panoramic views which stimulate the mind into flights of fancy. The primarily instrumental musical creations are delicate flowing canvases enabling him and his creative collaborators to employ a rainbow of textures. The achieved daydreamy effect is a delightful blend of new-age, smooth jazz and contemporary fusion jazz music.
On his third solo release on the My Quiet Moon Records label titled I Like That, David Boswell has the able assistance of some finely skilled musicians from varied musical genres. It’s an exciting and potent grouping. Jimmy Haslip, a co-founding member of the jazz fusion heavyweight group Yellowjackets brings his wealth of experience and is truly superb on each cut. Jazz saxophone virtuoso Nelson Rangell consistently delivers his special brand of passion. Haslip and Rangell have a history of making magical music together. John Boswell, David’s elder brother, is a master of ambience and new age piano and he has teamed with the precise percussionist M.B. Gordy III (possessor of an impressive and diverse resume which includes motion picture soundtracks) on past projects. Putting them all together and adding David’s sundry acoustic, electric and synthesized guitars, they lead to a recording of technical sophistication that is duly gratifying.
The title track "I Like That" opens the CD with a sensation of flying and it wings majestically for over six minutes before ending with a flourish. Next, the nimble driving bass of Haslip and the on the money percussion of Gordy form the solid bedrock for David’s forceful guitar and Rangell’s sax to launch from, taking off soaring into the stratosphere on "Tightrope." These first two songs are both notable and are featured once again at the end of the disc in their radio edit forms. "It’s Possible" begins more pensively with Rangell’s beautiful sax leads, but later picks up steam with some blistering guitar from David counterpointed by Haslip’s steady bass lines. Throughout the CD, the almost scat type wordless vocals provided by David assist in creating an atmospheric climate and conform to provide an umbrella for the theme.
"Awaken the Gentle Giant" is driven by Haslip’s bass and the delicate keyboards of John Boswell. David’s guitar has the transcendental quality of Lee Ritenour and proficiently hovers above and intertwines with the melody. I could exhaust my list of superlatives to describe the consummate bass playing of Jimmy Haslip, as his good taste in regards to what to add to the mixture is always impeccable.
My favorite tune on the disc is "Did I Tell You," which contains an extremely pleasing melody led by Nelson Rangell’s sterling sax work in combination with Gordy’s masterful percussion groove. David is buoyant as his guitars sing merrily and the entire ensemble gives the song a cheerful exuberance. "Little Steps on a Long Road" features David’s guitar playing with an exquisite purity of tone, together with the rhythm section of Gordy and Haslip improvising an interesting pattern. The song is yet another example of the imagery that these fine musicians render at every turn. "Come and Get Me" is more urgent in tone, but still possesses the unrestrained tug at your imagination that encompasses every tune on "I Like That."
"Across The Plains" and "Westward Path" both give an impression and the feel of a pioneer ride across the rolling hills aboard a prairie schooner with David’s mandolin and synthetic harmonica accompanying the wagon train as it moves westward towards the promised land of milk and honey. Songs such as these two, as well as all the others on this disc, set David apart from most of the artists that inhabit this musical genre. They exhibit an ability to marry memorable and significant catchy melodies with technical brilliant musicianship to form music rich with vivid imagery. "Shake ‘n’ Bake" furnishes the strong effect of an eagle in flight, soaring and diving, free as the wind. It gains momentum and doesn’t look back. Like all of David’s compositions, its production is state-of-the art, and pleasingly fresh.
I Like That is unquestionably David Boswell’s vision, but the strong musical personalities of Jimmy Haslip, Nelson Rangell, M.B. Gordy III and John Boswell help push this recording to a listening level that is both highly intriguing and immensely satisfying.