KBTS review from LAJazz.com

Super review from LAJazz.com

Kissed by the Sun - Artist: Gabriel

Artist Gabriel brings trumpet mastery to his CD project, Kissed by the Sun. Here is a recording full of power, spunk and funk. Turn back the clock to the delicious horn lines of Tower of Power. If you loved that danceable momentum, you will certainly enjoy Gabriel's album. It's a nice blend of Smooth Jazz, mixed with R&B horn licks and a healthy dose of bebop. This trumpeter can play it all. Gabriel's CD crosses genres and employs the creative genius of keyboardist/songwriter/producer/engineer and arranger, Jeff Lorber. Lorber has written all songs on this project, along with co-writer/artist Gabriel Mark Hasselbach, except "Funk in Deep Freeze." This one was written by Hank Mobley, a saxophonist I came up listening to and one who jazz critic, Leonard Feather once called "the middle weight champion of the tenor sax". Mobley was iconic during the 'hard bop' era. It was great to hear one of his compositions reinvented.

Gabriel plays trumpet, flugelhorn, alto & C flute, trombone and evi on this album. Evi is an electric valve instrument that sounds like a saxophone being played through a heavy reverb system. It can also mimic other sounds and instruments, the same way a computerized synthesizer or electric piano does. Evi responds to air pressure and was created as a synthesizer for trumpeters.

My favorite tunes on this CD are "King James" with its catchy melody and staccato horn lines. "Lock It Up" is both harmonic and funky, but still proffers a beautiful melody. "Funk in Deep Freeze" features some great musicianship by featured artists, Chuck Loeb (guitar) and Brian Bromberg (bass). It starts out sounding like Smooth Jazz and branches quickly into great bop improvisation. I enjoyed the title tune and "Ready When You Are" a sexy showcase of Gabriel's smooth jazz trumpet talent. The final tune is powerful. "No One Like You" features Lorber on a spiraling-into-the-universe keyboard solo. Lorber also plays synthesized guitar and bass on this CD. Tony Moore on drums is the man holding the rhythm firmly in place on three of the songs I picked as favorites. This CD is the whole package! It flaunts well written songs and great musicianship wrapped up beautifully by an excellent, tightly woven production; a perfect gift for the holidays.

Dee Dee McNeil, LAJazz.com

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