Saxophonist Greg Chambers has been enjoying what must be a most satisfying high for him as he splits his time between making solid-grooved contemporary jazz music as a solo artist and serving as a private woodwind instructor in the San Francisco Bay area. Having worked with symphonies and orchestras as a classical saxophonist, Chambers seems to keep quite busy. His dedication to the smooth jazz genre is commendable in light of all of his other activities. As evidence of that commitment, he now steps out again with another pleasing project called Can’t Help Myself.
Remaining true to a cool, fluid style that plays well in the smooth jazz community, the album contains an abundance of tasteful grooves including but not limited to the up-tempo lead and title track, an equally movin’ and shakin’ track two entitled “In The Moment” (an apropos title as I’m sure that is exactly where he was as he co-penned this one with multi-instrumentalist Matt Godina), the smooth and steady dancer “So Into You,” a laid-back and sexy “It’s On,” an effective and soulful cover of K-Ci & JoJo’s “All My Life,” and a cozy soprano sax presence found on the mid-tempo “Saturday Afternoon.”
The saxman is joined here by some well-known and admired artists in the biz, namely guitarist/producer Paul Brown (who will be releasing his own impressive project shortly), the personable and talented keyboardist/producer Nate Harasim, funky guitarist Nils, and the always-“on” bassist Julian Vaughn.
In addition to the beckon of Chambers’ sax, I must say that the backing keys/piano, guitar, and strings work on several of the slower, romantic tracks (e.g., “Come a Little Closer,” “Lovely,” and the riveting finale – sans drums or percussions – “Dreaming of You”) are simply more than worthy of a listen. Add to that the wonderful vocals found on the previously mentioned “Lovely” and provided by Kevin Lewis, and you’ve got a project that carries a lot of the confident stride of a well-produced effort.
In a nutshell, Chambers, having established that he has a firm handle on the nuances, flavors, and soul of this music, has again accomplished his goal to satisfy. – Ronald Jackson