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Ultrablue: Dusk 2 Dawn

A collective comprised of several top East Coast musicians, Ultrablue offers a wide-ranging assortment of cool, mostly laid-back smooth-jazz compositions on Dusk 2 Dawn (Khaeon). On the breezy title track and bright, melodic “Diamond Eyes,” the melody is shared by guitarist Dave Stryker and saxophonist David Mann. Stryker gives the ballad “Tynia” a gentle swing, and his delicate nylon-string guitar leads the lightly Latin-flavored “Brasilia.” Kevin Mahogany provides resonant vocals on the group’s grooving take on Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s in Need of Love Today,” while “Faithful” spotlights Rachel Z’s gentle piano work. “Nightgroove” is just what it says it is: a piano-driven tune with a late-night vibe and an infectious funky groove, while “That Was Then” combines mellow guitar with horn accents and sinuous, prowling bass. Dusk 2 Dawn is a pleasant, eminently likable offering that should gain immediate acceptance by smooth-jazz fans.

Originally Published