German pianist and composer Robert Christa
is best known in the smooth jazz genre by his solo projects
Nightflight To Rio (2015), City Lights (2017) and
Smooth World (2019). His new album is a collaboration
with the multi-instrumentalist Tom Reif entitled Free As A
Robert Christa has written all tracks and plays Rhodes, piano and
keys. Tom Reif has arranged, mixed and produced the tracks and
performs guitars, guitar synth, fretless bass, keyboards, loops,
percussion, programming and was co-composer on three tracks.
Additional artists are Herb Berger (harp) and Tommy Eberhardt
The album opens with the sun-drenched Sunset Boulevard,
from which Christa and Reif can definitely derive romantic
aspects. Christa follows with the opening track to the familiar
smooth jazz style of his previous album.
The tide turns with the next track, It's A Pitty. Reif's
electric guitar in particular brings a rock attitude to the
proceedings. Tommy Eberhardt on drums gives the whole dynamic and
Christa on the synthesizer coherently joins the fusionesque
As If We Met Before is somewhat reminiscent of the
lyrical rock known from Fleetwood Mac, although our protagonists
certainly set their own accents. Secret Paradise takes us
to the natural beauty with numerous bird sounds. The group then
surprises us with smooth jazz at its best inspired by masters of
acoustic guitar like Earl Klugh or Peter White.
An instrument can significantly determine the impression of a
piece of music. On Emely it is the harmonica that gives
the piece its very own timbre. The duo takes to the skies with the
title track, in which the guitar recreates the vastness of the
firmament with sweeping chords.
Hop on the Top is a multiple mixture of electronic set
pieces, which finally emulsify into a rhythmic fusion jazz. With
Starwalk, the band delves even deeper into the realms of
fusion jazz, with the drummer holding the reins with a Bossa Nova
rhythm to keep the high-bred musician's horses from bolting.
System Error announces the arrival of the technical age
with electric motor sounds. A thoroughbred jazz rock piece,
strongly influenced by Tom Reif's guitar. The album closes with
Wordless, a gentle piece in itself, in which the melody
on the electric guitar is in the center.
Compared to Christa's previous albums, Free As A Bird
offers a picture with many facets of sound. This is mainly due to
Tom Reif's musical influence. As a result, the album covers almost
the entire spectrum of contemporary jazz.
Buy the album in all stores
Title: Free As A Bird
Robert Christa / Tom Reif
Genre: Smooth Jazz
1) Sunset Boulevard (4:38)
2) It's a Pitty (5:30)
If We Met Before (6:01)
4) Secret Paradise (5:50)
6) Free as a Bird (5:59)
7) Hop on the Top
8) Starwalk (5:35)
9) System Error (6:54)
Nightflight To Rio