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January/February 2009

Jamhunters
Music Speaks Louder Than Words
Gateway

Single of the year honors have to include a shout-out to guitarist Lars Fabiansen and keyboardist Peter Michael, the duo behind the smooth-and-lounge of Jamhunters. They find plenty of sweet jam on “The Pier,” a swaying bossa-nova confection with Fabiansen’s Benson-studied riffs and Christina Boelskifte’s wordless phrasing. But that’s just the start. Like Jamhunters’ previous CDs, there’s plenty of playfulness, including vocal hooklines and speaking parts, thrown in to spice up the groove.

It should be apparent now that while Fabiansen lives in chill-music-lovin’ Denmark and Jamhunters have a vaguely defined electronic aura about them, it is all centered on groove and shiny feelings. Very smooth, indeed, and very sensual, like the lazy jazz ballad “Jamfadin’.” They’ve got the goods elsewhere as well: the thick bass beat in “Room for Milk,” the shuffle groove in “Eurabian Fantasy,” the extended Rhodes jam in “Paralyzed,” and the party-like spirit a la Marvin Gaye and Ramsey Lewis in “Shoot.” Throw in some soulful vocal tunes, some sax by Hans Ulrik and plenty of progressive jamming, and you’ve got top-notch, fresh smooth jazz done right. Not all of the best smooth jazz comes out of the U.S., that’s for sure.

Originally published in January/February 2009
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