Jessie Allen Cooper,
Sound Travels
(Cooper Sound Waves, 2003)

This CD is described on its cover as "World Jazz Fusion," but there is little world music to be found here; it is actually pure smooth jazz. Cooper uses few instruments from around the world. Even some of the percussion is computer-generated.

Sound Travels will satisfy listeners of smooth jazz. On most of the 12 cuts Cooper's soprano saxophone glides over a background of synthesizers and light percussion, with an occasional jazz guitar solo. The other instruments he uses are less prominent, including dobro, muted trumpet, keyboards, dumbek and other varied percussion.

On "Groovin' Out Back" and "Dance On" he switches to harmonica, and to tenor sax and keyboards on "Rain Dance." "Groovin' Out Back" gives a nod to rock, with Cooper's blues harp and a rock guitar solo by Ira Ingber. "Dance On" adds a bit of funk guitar and a slightly heavier beat. "Rain Dance" has more of a Latin feel than the other cuts.

Despite these few differences, if you are not a fan of the smooth genre, everything starts to sound the same by the fifth or sixth cut.

- Rambles
written by Dave Howell
published 2 October 2004

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