Peter Smith Quartet,
Blue & Green
(PoteSmote, 2002)

This is easily one of the most all-around entertaining, underrated jazz records of the year!

Peter Smith's third album gives us a decidedly laidback and intimate take on traditional forms, but nothing here sounds even remotely dusty. Smith and his band have fun with the compositions while keeping them technically intact, and on classic covers like "A Night in Tunisia" and "Blue in Green" their ability and range couldn't be more apparent. The original tunes soar, with Latin vibes tinting the incredibly infectious "Shoe Suede Blues" and "Weather Report." You can hear where another band might have taken the arrangements and turned the whole affair into a smooth jazz record or something even worse: a self-indulgent potpourri of technical show-offness. Smith and company, however, keep the mood light, yet not lightweight. They're deceptively simple; anyone who hears the percussive play in the solos of "Weather Update" and hears noise is missing the boat.

I approached the album with no knowledge or expectations and was greatly surprised at the coy depth and tender mindfulness of every second of the record. It's got a nice lounge tint to it, but isn't cheesy in any way.

A great jazz club or dinner party soundtrack that lets you chill out and not have to worry about hitting the "next track" button on your CD player. It's a wholly entertaining affair all around for traditionalists and contemporary-minded jazz fans both.

- Rambles
written by Scott Woods
published 7 February 2004