Eddie Gip Noble,
In the Lite of Things
(Sonido Noble, 2011)

In terms of skill, craft, experience and talent, Eddie Gip Noble has it all. The man's been around longer than many readers of this website have been alive and has worked in just about every genre of music from jazz to R&B and soul. He has written ("Love TKO: for Teddy Pendergrass, various cuts for Etta James, Bette Midler and Johnny "Guitar" Watson, among others) and produced, but is mostly known for his more than 30 years as a sideman for just about everybody in the business.

His natural forte, though, is smooth jazz, and that's where this album lands. Noble has taken popular songs from many genres and worked them all into smooth jazz arrangements. The songs he has chosen to transform include tunes you wouldn't think would fit, such as Springsteen's "Streets of Philadelphia" and Michael Jackson's "This Girl is Mine," but Noble, who plays both acoustic and electric piano, makes them work.

He as come up with an album that goes beyond the limitations of much smooth jazz; it isn't just pleasant background music, but moves out into the center and holds its own. From the playful version of Vince Guaraldi's "Linus & Lucy" to the soulful version of Peter Gabriel's "Red Rose," Noble finds the heart of the song and shows it to you. His version of "Blackbird" is stunning, making the Beatles chestnut sound like a brand new song.

For fans of smooth jazz, In the Lite of Things will be indispensible. Fans of good music in any genre will listen with pleasure.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

11 February 2012

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