Jubu Smith – Jubu (ENG review)

Little Village – Street date July 30th 2024
Blues, Jazz
Jubu Smith – Jubu

When Little Village suggested this album to me, I found it quite amusing. Until then, Jubu Smith was a musician I associated with numerous smooth jazz or jazz albums, having collaborated with notable figures such as Luther Vandross, Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men, Toni Braxton, George Duke, and George Benson. From a purely blues perspective, genre enthusiasts might find this album somewhat mixed and not strictly blues, and it would be hard to argue with them. Let’s say upfront that it’s a well-crafted album by a guitarist who clearly enjoyed playing with his cultural roots, aiming to please both himself and his fans. In this regard, the bet is fully successful.

Jubu Smith’s journey in the music industry attests to his exceptional talent and versatility as a guitarist. At the age of 19, Jubu began an impressive decade as a guitarist for Tony Toni Toné, laying down captivating rhythms and enchanting audiences with his soulful melodies. He then embarked on a prestigious world tour with Whitney Houston, further solidifying his reputation as a sought-after musician.

Indeed, this entire album is a musical hide-and-seek game, in which this excellent guitarist showcases the full extent of his talent through particularly rich and intelligent musical arrangements. It is primarily an album for his many fans or for aspiring guitarists looking to learn and pick up various tricks and tips, as rhythmically or musically, everything here is a matter of know-how from an extraordinary artist. Jubu has embarked on a new musical adventure by teaming up with GRAMMY-winning drummer Calvin Napper (notably from MAZE with Frankie Beverly, Stephanie Mills, Donnie McClurkin) and three-time GRAMMY-nominated guitarist/producer Charlie Hunter. This album is therefore entirely stage-oriented. Listening to the 10 tracks on this album, one can perfectly imagine the live performance, quite similar to what we see in smooth jazz, where the main musician is always accompanied by outstanding musicians, ensuring a perfect show.

This album is a demonstration of a fascinating and passionate musician who goes beyond themes when delivering his blues “EG is Here.” The arrangements and propositions are those of a jazz great, a beautiful musical achievement. This makes me classify this album as a “Favorite” simply because I prefer albums that go in a more defined direction. This does not detract from Jubu’s artistic quality and the fact that this perfectly produced album is very pleasant to listen to, which makes me recommend it to you.

It ends with “Totally Convicted,” where Jubu makes his guitar sing—gripping, enchanting, and amusing. I recommend, if you buy this album, getting the CD version for an unparalleled listening experience, as the production and mixing of this album are particularly fine and graceful.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, June 10th 2024

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