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Positive Energy (Remastered Edition With Bonus Track)

Steve Oliver

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Album Review

Contemporary jazz guitarist and vocalist Steve Oliver offers something everyone will enjoy on his sophomore release as a leader, titled Positive Energy. The recording reflects Oliver's smooth, upbeat, joyous spirit through dynamic vocals and instrumentals on 12 brand-new originals. Working with Steve Oliver are such prominent contemporary jazz favorites as his labelmate, Jeff Kashiwa, on saxophone and Spyro Gyra keyboardist Tom Schuman alongside the multi-talented bassists Brian Bromberg and Larry Antonino. The recording opens with the radio-friendly "High Noon," the first single to be released from the CD. The song combines the freshest licks from Latin funk and the smoothest grooves from smooth jazz in an energetic presentation with a contemporary flair. Oliver's vocals set the song apart from the instrumentals on the set and give his listeners more than enough room to enjoy the "positive energy" emanating from his playing style. On the title track, Steve Reid adds his mighty percussion to the mix and not only provides an extra layer of rhythmic fuel, but inspires Oliver's excellent guitar playing to another level of performance. Oliver's ability to tell a story is quite evident on the vocal version of "Show You Love." This song has the potential to cross over to the R&B genre due to its funky backbeat and danceability and is reprised as an instrumental, with Brandon Fields' smooth tenor sax as the lead voice, to close the set. Positive Energy has no problem meeting the standards set by Oliver's 1999 debut, First View, and should garner additional smooth jazz and groove fans for Oliver. In the making for nearly three years, the new musical dimensions added by the guest stars, the romantic and sometimes-funky celebratory vibe, and Oliver's excellent musicality make Positive Energy another great opportunity to hear what Steve Oliver is all about.

Biography

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Playing sideman to Rick Braun, Larry Carlton, Gato Barbieri, the Neville Brothers, and many others introduced guitarist/vocalist Steve Oliver to smooth jazz fans, but it was with Steve Reid's band that Oliver found a following. It was 1996 when Reid contacted Oliver at the last minute to fill in for a canceled opening act. Oliver hit the stage as a solo act and Reid was impressed with the guitarist's vocalese skills and summery sound (Oliver is a California native and a true follower of the laid-back...
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Positive Energy (Remastered Edition With Bonus Track), Steve Oliver
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