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My Next Heartbeat by Hart Ramsey

My Next Heartbeat is keyboardist, producer, engineer, composer and Founder and Pastor of Northview Christian Church Hart Ramsey's second release as a leader.  This lively set of smooth jazz music doesn't skimp on nice easy-going grooves or compromise on room for Ramsey's accompanying musicians to express themselves on those grooves via long improvised solos.

Guitarist Eric Essix gets a nice ride on the title track.  His freely flowing phrases and beautifully crafted lines float effortlessly above the rhythm track.  Saxophonist Kelley O'Neal gets some real face time on "Two Lines."  His feel for the pocket of a rhythm is totally in sync with that tune's open feel, and with his prowess it's easy to see why BeBe & CeCe Winans asked him to tour with them.  Other musicians, such as bassist and co-producer Sean Michael Ray, are given room to spread out as well.  "Two Roads" allows ample opportunity for his thick bass sound and slightly jagged lines to groove.

There are so many times on the recording where Ramsey allows his sidemusicians so much solo space you almost come to not expect him to ever put himself first.  Thankfully he does on "Written In Red."  This nice little hook embedded tune is not only radio friendly, but perfect for sunny drives in the country.

Vocalist Robert Moe has a tonal quality perfectly suited to the vocalize-ish lines the compositional triumvirate of Ramsey, Ray and Moe fashion.  Moe's rich tenor glides along like ice cubes in a sweating glass on a cool August day.  The ballad tempo and his rich sustained vocal tones are a perfect complement to each other.  Percussionist P.J. Spraggins, who also sings sweetly on "In Spite Of Myself," melds his voice perfectly with guitarist Rick Watford.  Together the two of them make this tune one of the disc's best cuts. 

This lively disc only suffers from a sameness that tends to mix each tune into each other.  That Ramsey and his musicians have great talent is never in doubt, that they tend towards mid-tempo almost sound alike grooves, even though they're great, inhibits the entire project and overall makes the disc sound a bit on the plain side; this is a shame because it's obvious these musicians have put their heart and soul into this project.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Hart Ramsey
  • CD Title: My Next Heartbeat
  • Genre: Smooth Jazz
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Record Label: N-Coded Music
  • Tracks: Two Roads, Written In Red, The Commitment, See Into Me, Look You In The Face, My Next Heartbeat, In Spite Of Myself, Until The End Of Time, Merry Heart Like Medicine, Cover Me, Start Now!, The Better Part and Don't Be Afraid To Try Again
  • Musicians: Hart Ramsey (keyboards, drum programming), Melvin Baldwin (drums), Kelley O'Neal (saxophone), Eric Essex (Guitar), Robert Moe (vocals), Sean Michael Ray (bass), P.J. Spraggins (drums, vocals), Joey Summerville (trumpet), Rick Watford (guitar)
  • Rating: Three Stars
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