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Brown,Paul + Antoine,Marc: ForeignXchange

Smooth jazz.

What? You're still here? I figured those two words would have you all running to the hills! Smooth jazz is to jazz music what soft rock is to rock music: a toothless, watered-down version of the real deal. Hell, if smooth jazz is considered jazz, then Coltrane, Davis, Mingus, and Monk are probably all turning over in theirs graves. With my opinion on the matter clearly defined, it was with great trepidation that I approached ForeignXchange, by the duo of guitarists Paul Brown and Marc Antoine, as the former is considered a "smooth jazz pioneer".

But, we must forge ahead and approach this disc with an open mind. ForeignXchange is a collection of 10 songs all built on a similar frame. Mr Antoine takes care of the acoustic portion with his nylon string guitar and lays down some nice, albeit totally laid back guitar lines, and Mr Brown weaves electric guitar lines in and around them. The other musicians simply keep time with some very uninspired beats and fills. It is this part of the "smooth jazz experience" that makes it so unpalatable to me. Every song has an almost identical tempo (thud/clap/thud/clap) that gives it a quasi-dance beat. This formula is then repeated in every song, with very little in way of variations. Now this may wow them on the Clear Channel circuit, but I know that the average Sea Of Tranquility reader is a little more sophisticated in his musical preferences.

The last thing I want to do here is denigrate these players. It is obvious that they are both accomplished guitarists. I'll also venture a guess and state that the accompanying band members, when in more lively combos, are probably very solid players too. However, this disc is the sort of thing you'd play when your in-laws are coming over for dinner. It's so middle-of-the-road that you cannot even see the curb on either side. Recommended to those who think they're jazz fans just because they own everything Kenny G. ever released.

Track Listing:

  1. Feel The Love (4:43)
  2. Wine Night (4:12)
  3. Flight Of The Conchords (4:03)
  4. Foreign Exchange (4:16)
  5. Brother Earl (3:47)
  6. On The Down Low (4:42)
  7. French Connection (4:16)
  8. What About Bob (4:24)
  9. Sweetness (3:58)
  10. Bridges Of Paris (4:28)

Added: May 13th 2009
Reviewer: Yves Dubé
Related Link:
Hits: 1867
Language: english

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