DREW DAVIDSEN: True Drew (Oznot Records)


Drew Davidsen is a classically trained cellist who’s always dabbled in guitar. After serving with the Navy in Iraq he took the guitar more seriously and started carving out a reputation for himself on the smooth jazz circuit. He made his recording debut in 2008 with the well-received ‘The Journey’ and with ‘True Drew’ ( the man’s fifth album) his odyssey continues.

The 12 tracker is a great little smooth jazz set… and as such will please the genre’s legions of fans but infuriate those who feel the music and mood is just a little too bland. Here there are plenty of bright up-tempo, breezy items – tunes like ‘My Guitar’, ‘Double Or Nothing’ and ‘Sweet Spot’ for starters. You also get the obligatory Latin break – here it’s a percussive ‘HI 5’ – and some softer moments – the gentle ‘All Night And Forever’ is the best here. There’s a Stevie Wonder cover too (Stevie must do well from royalties from smooth jazz albums!) Here it’s a respectful version of ‘I Can’t Help It’. Great piano on it from Bobby Lyle by the way… and indeed throughout the album Davidsen gets some great support from people like Bobby, Eric Marienthal, Bob Baldwin and Gerald Veasley.

Biggest disappointment though is the input from Ron Tyson of the Temptations. Ron guests on the pretty ‘I’m Into You’ but sadly doesn’t get to do too much save to sweetly coo the title over and over – a waste of a great voice (in my book at any rate). Still, the smooth jazz fans will love it –it has all the ingredients which create the appeal to them.

(BB) 3/5