Two celebrities of the music business are joining forces for a common project. Keyboardist Brian Simpson and guitarist Steve Oliver bundle their talents for Unified, scheduled for release January 17, 2020 on Shanachie Entertainment.

On the new album Brian performs piano and keyboards, Steve Oliver guitars, vocals and sound design. They are supported by Alex Al (bass), Eric Valentine (drums) and Ramon Yslas (percussion). Guest musicians are bassist Larry Antonino and trumpet player Rick Braun on Fired Up, guitarist Darrel Crooks on Celestial Body and Café du Monde.

The album opens with the title song. Our main matadors have brought their sound to absolute perfection. Everything interlocks and flows smoothly. The Road Never Ends presents fresh vibes of both musicians on a high professional base. Finally, the song leads into an excellent call and response exchange between guitar and piano.

What The Wind Knows shows many elements that are typical of Oliver's style. It starts with the full-bodied underlining keyboard sequence, the text less, mantra- or scat-like vocal accompaniment to the guitar and the rich guitar chords.

The aptly titled Fired Up is the first hot shot of the album featuring Rick Braun on pure and muted trumpet. Grounded on a tight and groovy rhythm Brian and Steve excel on their instruments. Last Summer has the exhilarating vivacity that is often found on Brian Culbertson's album. With guitarist Steve Oliver as splendid complement, everything gets the finishing touches.

On Like No Other Brian showcases more of his piano wizardry. The hip techno feel of the further musical environment sets the appropriate framework. If the rhythm grips the listener, the melody is also much easier to create, because the rhythm has a motivating effect. The Way Home is a good example for this fascinating flow.

Celestial Body conveys a Mediterranean flair full of sun and joie de vivre. This relaxed attitude can also be found in Café du Monde, where Brian glides playfully over the piano. Many of us have already experienced that relationship that lives over distances. A Distant Love combines happiness and melancholy. It is the most beautiful moment in our life, when one realizes for the first time that the beloved one returns your love. And Then You Loved Me captures this moment tenderly.

Brian Simpson and Steve Oliver deliver with Unified a musical fusion filled with passion and optimism. This is a fantastic start in the new year that makes you confident about a bright future for smooth jazz.




Website (Brian Simpson) / Website (Steve Oliver)

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Album Information

Title: Unified
Artist: Brian Simpson & Steve Oliver
Year: 2020
Genre: Smooth Jazz
Label: Shanachie Entertainment


1. Unified
2. The Road Never Ends
3. What the Wind Knows
4. Fired Up
5. Last Summer
6. Like No Other
7. The Way Home
8. Celestial Body
9. Café Du Monde
10. A Distant Love
11. And Then You Loved Me