Smooth Jazz Therapy review

Gabriel - Kissed By The Sun

After his 2010 project ‘Told Ya So’, horn player Gabriel Mark
Hasselbach, aka Gabriel, certainly had a lot to live up to. It was a
recording that brimmed with understated magnificence and included
contributions from Jeff Lorber, Paul Brown, Marc Antoine and Darren
Rahn. Now Gabriel has re-united with Lorber for the splendid ‘Kissed
By The Sun’. Not only does it live up to expectations but in fact
blows them sky high. With all ten tracks written produced and
engineered by these two fine musicians (and with Lorber variously
playing guitar, bass and keys throughout) this is a body of work that
is sure to be one of the highlights of the contemporary jazz year.

Think James Brown, think funky and you will be perfectly in sync with
what the zesty ‘King James’ is all about. As the album’s opening tune
it provides an early insight into the superb vibe that permeates the
entire collection and in addition affords a nice platform for the
combined artistry of Gabriel on trumpet, Lorber on keys and the
rapidly emerging Rock Hendricks on sax. When sax duties pass to Walle
Larsson the result is the swaggering ‘Lock It Up’ which finds Gabriel
in decidedly jazzy mode and he stays that way for ‘Funk In Deep
Freeze’ which showcases the incomparable Brian Bromberg on bass and
the ubiquitous Chuck Loeb on guitar.

Lorber takes center stage for the funk drenched ‘No One Like You’ and
he also comes up big for the extremely edgy ‘UnReal Blues’ for which
Gabriel switches effortlessly between trumpet and flute in the most
magical of ways. Lorber again makes a significant input to the
smoothly jazzy ‘Starpixie’. Already climbing the chart of most played
on smooth jazz radio this is a track that seems certain to widen
Gabriel’s already considerable appeal

The romantically inclined ‘Ready When You Are’ is a delight while
elsewhere the wonderful ‘Kindness’ finds Gabriel at his mellow best.
It proves to be what might be described as textbook smooth jazz and
much the same can be said of the easy grooving title cut that benefits
from a rhythm that is entirely to die for. However, all things
considered, a real personal favorite is the rhythmic, mid-tempo ‘Its
Real’ which features Rob Tardik on guitar and is right up there with
the best that ‘Kissed By The Sun’ has to offer.

In every respect ‘Kissed By The Sun’ is a truly exceptional CD and
comes highly recommended.

For more go to

Read Denis Poole's complete review online: