Pianist Alan Hewitt made his solo smooth-jazz debut two years ago with Noche de Pasion, an uptempo CD with big-name guest artists Mindi Abair, Euge Groove and Jonathan Butler. But Hewitt’s second CD is more nuanced, and he’s ditched the guests. The result is a tempting smooth-jazz effort that announces Hewitt’s arrival.
The music on Metropolis often sounds cinematic in scope, which should come as no surprise. Hewitt’s scored numerous motion pictures and is currently composing music for television programs like Oprah. As the title suggests, the music here is sophisticated, urban and seductive. It’s also overflowing with abundant hooks and hummable melodies as shown in the ballads “Velvet Kisses” and “Indigo.”
Although there are no vocal tracks, Hewitt does give vocalist Shea Chambers a chance to add vocals shadings to a few songs, and she sings the chorus in a slowed-down, languid version of Sly and the Family Stone’s “Hot Fun in the Summertime.” And it should be noted that Hewitt hasn’t totally abandoned headlining guest artists: He calls on friend and Southern California neighbor Steve Olive for some sweet guitar picking on a tasty tune called “Soleil.”