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December 2008

Oli Silk
The Limit’s the Sky
Trippin 'n' Rhythm

Oli Silk is only in his twenties, lives in the U.K. and has been producing music since he was 13. You’re picturing a stereotype of a hip young chap twisting beats and spinning drum loops, but keyboardist Silk is an old-schooler clearly comfortable with the softer side of smooth jazz. His second solo CD continues in the vein of his 2006 debut So Many Ways with its simply stated melodies, touch of light funk and many enjoyable Jeff Lorber-like runs down the keys. In fact, Silk channels Lorber impressively on the veteran fusion-master’s “Seventh Heaven.”

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Neil Hutchinson

Oli Silk

But after two CDs, it’s apparent that Silk obviously has the most affection for smooth jazz piano master Brian Culbertson, who himself is still a young man in his thirties. Like Culbertson, Silk can get funky but sparkles on the midtempo, relaxed songs that are a staple in the genre. “Solarity” is eight minutes of the most compelling smooth jazz you’re going to hear this year, while “Chill or Be Chilled” is a sweet nugget in the vein of his past smooth jazz hit “Easy Does It.” Saxophonist Jaared stops by to inject some laid-back funk in “De-Stress Signal,” and “Get It Together” is led by finger-snaps and groovy talk-box vocals, but overall Silk has the perfect last name.

Originally published in December 2008
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