US keyboardist BRIAN SIMPSON has a CV to be proud of. He’s  worked with people like Janet Jackson, Teena Marie, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Boney James and Dave Koz while his last record outing was a 2020 collaboration with guitarist Steve Oliver. Right now, as the lockdowns ease, Brian is gearing up to promote his latest album as leader.

‘All That Matters’ (his 10th set as lead) has just won release on Shanachie Records and the ten tracker (as you’d expect) ticks all the correct smooth jazz boxes. Don’t expect anything too outré  here. That’s not the nature of this beast. Rather, enjoy polished, melodic, slick, easy on the ear grooves with a soulful undertow, typified by the foot tapping title track.

Helping Brian deliver here are Nicholas Cole, Oliver Wendell. Najee, Steve Alanis, Ron King, Michael White, Tony Moore, Dwayne “Smitty” Smith, Roberto Vally, Brain Kilgore, Ray Fuller, Yarone Levy and the aforementioned Steve Oliver.

Najee guests on ‘Mystical’ but you’d know that simply by listening. His distinctive sound is  a perfect complement to Simpson’s crystalline piano.

BRIAN SIMPSON; All That Matters. Out now on Shanachie