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Bob Baldwin: NewUrbanJazz.com

Pianist Bob Baldwin’s Brazil Chill and All in a Day’s Work were bookends with their sultry rhythms and hook-filled instrumentals, enhanced with an occasional vocal. Baldwin now wants to create a new style of music he calls “new urban jazz,” but really all he’s done is added more R&B vocals, including his own. So you have several quiet-storm, midtempo numbers with Phil Perry, Jocelyn Brown, Tyrone Iris and Toni Redd mixed in with gritty rap by Della Croche and somebody named ASoulBorn.

OK, nothing wrong with that, and you have to admire to admire Baldwin’s risk-taking in branching out, especially when too much smooth jazz is predictably stale. But Baldwin is one of the genre’s most talented keyboardists, and he makes the blending of pop and R&B rhythms with his natural jazz tendencies look easy. You’re reminded of that again with such winning tunes as Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” with saxophonist Najee and with the originals “Third Wind” and “Joe Zawinul,” the latter featuring Baldwin’s superb vocalese in a tribute to the late, great musician.

Originally Published