Saxophonist Jeff Kashiwa will be always connected with the Rippingtons, although he already left the group in 1999 to concentrate on a solo career. This decision bore plenty of fruit with nine albums before he reunited with the Rippingtons in 2006 again. In 2004 he founded together with Steve Cole and Kim Waters The Sax Pack, a trio of saxophone headliners.

This month his tenth album Fly Away has been released. Jeff describes the new album as "a collection of songs that express the bittersweet awareness of how quickly time passes and in the same breath the excitement of what is to come as we travel the long road ahead."

The project features the Coastal Access Band; Melvin Davis (bass), Allen Hinds (guitar), Dave Hooper (drums) and Mark Ellis Stephens and Dave Kochanski (keyboards). Furthermore 
friends/musicians are Marc Antoine (guitar), Tom Schuman (keys), Ricky Peterson on Hammond B3 Organ, guitarist Miles Gilderdale, Steve Reid, Ronnie Gutierrez, Ray Ysles and Brad Dutz (percussion) along with the late great Ricky Lawson on drums and many others. Jeff performs alto and tenor sax, flute, alto flute, clarinet and EWI.

Side By Side celebrates friendship and comradery between Jeff and his friends and his family. The spirit of mutual understanding and recognition mirrors in the uplifting tune with a strong West Coast flavor. The spacious Fly Away reflects the style of the Rippingtons with a keen visual imaginary often described as a powerful movie score.

Lullalo is a Latin lullaby written and played by Dave Kochanski. Marc Antoine adds some lyrical chords while Jeff plays the clarinet, by the way for the first time since 30 years. He calls his instrument an old familiar friend. Do It Again, a song from the group Steely Dan from their 1972 debut album Can't Buy a Thrill was one of their best hits. Jeff Kashiwa embraces his musical heritage on a rendition which combine flute and sax as lead instruments and also includes late Ricky Lawson on drums.

Solstice marks the most important time of the year, the winter solstice (the shortest day of the year), and the summer solstice (the longest day  of the year). Jeff celebrates these moments introspectively on alto flute,  Dave Hooper creates with timpani mallets on drums a world music flavor, while a group of seven musicians serves the orchestral background.  Six of One is a tune with great swing and elegant soul featuring Tom Schuman with an eclectic treat of his piano.

7th Heaven is titled after a challenging ski run in the Northwest. Significant instrument on this tune is the EWI,  a wind instrument player featuring a lot of impressive acoustic instrument emulations especially the one, Lyle Mays was famous for in his time as member of the Pat Metheny group.

August Nights is Jeff's point of remembrance, the time when he has birthday and reflects about the past, the presence and the future. Although Jeff performs the flute with grandeur, it's pianist Mark Ellis Stephens who is firing on all cylinders. For Jeff life is like The Long Road. With every lingering note Jeff steps along the stations of his history. On The Sun Will Shine Jeff brings his album to the final positive accord.

Jeff Kashiwa presents on Fly Away truly magnificent and thought provoking music and distinguished musicianship, a cut above standard offerings of the smooth jazz genre.






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Album Information

Title: Fly Away
Artist: Jeff Kashiwa
Year: 2017
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Independant


1 Side by Side 5:04
2 Fly Away 4:37
3 Lullalo 4:11
4 Do It Again 4:40
5 Solstice 3:29
6 Six of One 5:30
7 7th Heaven 4:40
8 August Nights 4:25
9 The Long Road 4:15
10 The Sun Will Shine 4:11

Further review:

Let It Ride