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April 2006

Tom Schuman
Deep Chill
Jazzbridge

For most of his career, Tom Schuman has been known as the keyboardist for contemporary-jazz group Spyro Gyra. But once in a while he feels the need to step out, and now we have his fourth solo CD. Contrary to the clever title, there's only a hint of chill music on the disc, best shown with "Everybody Knows." That tune has groovy, computer-enhanced vocal inflections. But most of the album is filled with jazz, funk, R&B vocals, Latin, pop and fusion.

Schuman called on two smooth-jazz performers to help out: Saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa, normally fairly laid back on disc, comes alive on "Fearless Fostic," and Chuck Loeb's clean and jazzy guitar lines prop up a tune called "Redondo Beach." Schuman's cover choices are interesting: Elton John's "Your Song" gets a loungy treatment that grows on you, but it's time El DeBarge's "All This Love" be retired as a vocal track. Conversely, Aretha Franklin's "Until You Come Back to Me" comes alive as a gospel-flavored piano rag.

Originally published in April 2006
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