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Bryan Lubeck — Vineyard Groove

Aug. 3, 2011

Another guitarist who knows his way around the enticing combination of flamenco and jazz guitar, Bryan Lubeck, has re-released his 2008 smooth and exotic offering, Vineyard Grooves.  This is a more than satisfying album; it’s downright fulfilling with charming melodies and rhythms.

When he’s not seducing with the acoustic Latin charm, he’s equally moving and effective with the contemporary jazz element, as with the title track, one that could actually place you in some Northern California vineyard on a sunny afternoon, maybe on a light wine tasting mission.

You could either take that glass of wine and settle back to the sounds of track 4’s sexy Latin-seasoned “Down to the Beach,” or you could just wait until you see the moon’s smile late at night and stroll along that beach with this tune in hand or at least in your head. Yeah, it’s that sweet and soothing in its light, mid-tempo way.

“All My Love” strikes one in a very similar way but with a much different melody and feel. The embrace is still the same, tight, full, and all encompassing.  A touch of muted trumpet adds some magic moments to this one.

Diversity is the keyword here with this project. A case in point is the orchestral string arrangement catching one’s attention as Lubeck dances into Sting’s “Fragile,” always a beautiful piece to cover, complete with lead vocals from Lubeck.

“Noon Groove” and “Top Down” are good examples of how much the artist enjoys a good smooth jazz run as much as anyone, and it speaks to the splendid balancing act Lubeck demonstrates between the Latin style and contemporary jazz.

Vineyard Groove is just that…a groove — a diverse, catchy, appealing, melodic, and well-conceived groove. A true listening experience from start to finish. – Ronald Jackson