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Doug Jones – Top Down

Aug. 29, 2013

Saxman Doug Jones rolls out his latest release, Top Down, with the confidence of one who’s been around for a bit. That’s because he has. Proudly touting a 16-year career in smooth/contemporary jazz, Jones shows here that he’s got his finger firmly planted on the pDoug Jonesulse of the genre with his presentation of snappy beats and romantic melodies.

Jones gets his party started right away with his lead track, “Suspense,” as he cranks out the up-tempo groove with sharp precision and bounce.

Following that track, he settles into a mid-tempo moment with “Almost Summer,” a track with a deliciously lazy cadence similar to the classic “Groovin’” made famous by The Young Rascals (how many of you remember that group?).

The incorporation of Latin & Brazilian flavors on his self-penned “Bella Luna” is a delightful journey to a land of palm trees and piña coladas. Its contagious and exotic rhythm is self-explanatory.

Demonstrating the depth of knowledge of eclecticism, Jones travels between Latin leanings to bossa nova seductiveness (“Talking in My Sleep” and “One Last Dance” – the latter has a Santana-like climax that will definitely impress) to bluesy jazz charm (“Walking With Jack”) to the rhythmic drive of up-tempo jams like the previously mentioned lead track. There’s even a hint at some Steely Dan jazz/rock stylings (take a listen to the rhythm section on the title track).
 
Jones offers a little of something for every contemporary jazzer.  Having written all of the tracks here, his music is as diverse and comprehensive as his adeptness with instruments (he plays alto, soprano, and tenor saxes as well as flute, harmonica, and wind synthesizer).

A soothing yet rousing and often exotic project, Top Down is just how you want to ride along a sunny coast — with this album serenading you and all who are within listening range.  A solid gold star effort. – Ronald Jackson