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Steve Oliver: 3D

Smooth-jazz guitarist Steve Oliver offers more of his trademark sunny sound on his third album, 3D (Koch). This time around, Oliver decided to incorporate some new elements, like the electronic rhythms that counter his lighthearted acoustic, both on the title track and on “Oh Yeah.” “Chips and Salsa” is a spiky Latin number, and “She’s Got the Way-O” finds Oliver’s delicately plucked guitar complemented by Eric Marienthal’s lyrical sax. Oliver also turns in a thoughtful reading of John Lennon’s “Imagine”; he doesn’t go the paint-by-numbers route and, instead, improvises around the famous melody, putting his own stamp on the song. 3D includes three vocal tracks with Oliver singing lead. He has a nice voice that’s well-suited to the pop material he’s singing, especially the irresistibly catchy “Let It Go,” and he gives an effective vocal performance on the string-enhanced ballad “See You Soon.” While the tunes on 3D are rather ephemeral, overall this is a sweet and very likable album that is sure to brighten your day.

Originally Published