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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke

Freddie Ravel-Keyboards,Vocals. Various personnel including special guests: Marc Antoine-Guitar (1&11) Peter White-Guitar (4&6) Jorge Strunz, Ardeshir Farar-Guitar (8) Eric Marienthal-Saxophone (9)
Recorded March 2000 L.A.
G.R.P. 549 351-2


  1. Echo de Amor
2. Samba Mundial
3. Sunny Side Up
4. Bolerino Bella
5. Love Is In The Air.....When You're Aware
6. Conversations
7. Piano Sensual
8. Dame Tu Calor
9. Summerplay
10. Dame la Razon
11. Echo de Amor (duet)


To quote the sticker attached to this CD ,"From seductive ballads to irresistible dance tracks,Freddie Ravel brings the pulse and drive of Latin rhythms to contemporary jazz". This is a very pleasant recording in the Easy Listening/ Smooth Jazz category. The tempos are certainly, on the whole, geared towards dancing.

The arrangements are slick, with a preponderance of percussion and the guitar is often well to the fore in the mix. There are hints of some of the smoother Isaac Hayes performances and also a Van McCoy feeling to one or two tracks- the backing on "Sunny Side Up" reminds me of "The Hustle". All orchestrations are by Freddie Ravel.

On "Samba Mundial" the guitar solo is evocative of Carlos Santana as are some of the ensemble passages on other selections. The vocals are adequate - both chorus and solo - although they are not mixed as clearly as they could have been. In fact they sometimes seem to be used as another section in the instrumental background. ("Love Is In The Air")

Freddie Ravel has a clean, uncluttered keyboard style. His solos being more an integral part of the whole concept rather than a strong personal statement . He uses space to great effect to emphasise the rhythmic nature of many of the selections. The interplay between the acoustic guitar and the piano on tunes such as "Conversations" and "Echo de Amor" is a most telling device.

Eric Marienthal is featured, on alto, to good effect on "Summerplay" both as a part of the ensemble on the introduction and in a couple of brief solos. His style is firmly rooted in Grover Washington Jr. but he does not exhibit quite the same intensity on this performance.
I enjoyed this disc, it is not what I would term "serious listening " but is a good dance record or ,equally, highly suitable to play whilst driving or doing one's chores!

Dick Stafford

D.S. is a professional reed player and teacher living in Coventry.

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