Keyboardist John Novello was a member of the famous formation A Taste of Honey. With his trio Niacin he performed progressive jazz rock. Some of his solo albums are Too Cool (1990), Always & Forever (2004), Threshold (2004), Organik (2005) and B3 Soul (2008).

After a long hiatus he is back with the new album Ivory Soul (2016) on 529 Music. On his new project he is joined by stellar artists like Gerald Albright, Eric Marienthal, Donald Hayes, Tom Scott, Melvin Davis, Rayford Griffin and many more.

Novello produced the album together with multi-platinum songwriter/producer Andy Goldmark, with whom he already worked on his previous album B3 Soul.

The album starts with the single Crush, which was released first by Jennifer Paige and written by Goldmark together with other fellow writers. Novello gives this pop song a jazzy and Salsa twist with great participation of Gerald Albright on sax and Melvin Davis on bass.

Shuffle The Deck is a term for randomizing a deck of playing cards to provide an element of chance in card games. In music the shuffle beat is one of the best rhythm for playing and jamming. On this track Novello is accompanied by saxophonist Tom Scott and what kind of shuffle both create, is out of this world.

On Ivory Soul Novello duets with sax player Jeff Nathanson, who is a principal soloist and horn section member for Latin-pop superstar Luis Miguel. While Novello masterly tingles the piano he cannot resist to include some Hammond B3 grooves.

The love ballad I Can't Stop My Heart showcases the distinct romantic side of Novello. Saxophonist Eric Marienthal is an excellent choice to express the emotions. The song Blackbird by John Lennon and Paul McCartney is a classic today. For Novello a perfect launching pad for his piano improvisations.

Funk Shui is Novello's splendid manifestation of Funk featuring saxophonist Donald Hayes, who has just released his first solo album Front Ground. This excursion into fusion jazz is absolutely challenging for all musicians. Heart of Hearts, composed by Keith Stegall and Andy Goldmark, is transcribed beautifully. A sonic highlight on piano and Hammond B3.

The Latin tinged Fiestaville featuring Arturo Solar on trumpet is lived joy. Cecil's Tune has a special African flavor, what we owe to the guitarist Ablai. Ablai (Abdoulie Jallow) is from Gambia and now lives in Norway.

When singer Corinne Bailey Rae debuted in 2006 with the song Put Your Records On, she had a tremendous success especially in the UK. It was even listed in the Billboard charts as smooth jazz song although it's critically viewed a Pop song. Novello makes the best of this tune adding some nice tremolos. 

Stella By Starlight is celebrated as one of the most covered jazz standards. Novello interprets the song as solo piano and knows how to leave his personal touch flow on this piece.

On B3 Soul was the Hammond B3 in the center of Novello's musical creative force. On Ivory Soul is the piano first choice of his ingenious skills. His selection is shaped by his taste, his creations have the musical vibrancy of a perfectionist but more of someone who loves his instrument.






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Album Information

Title: Ivory Soul
Artist: John Novello
Year: 2016
Length: 0:47:15
Genre: General Jazz
Label: 529 Music


01 Crush (Featuring Gerald Albright) [4:20]
02 Shuffle the Deck (Featuring Tom Scott) [4:06]
03 Ivory Soul (Featuring Jeff Nathanson) [5:49]
04 I Can't Stop My Heart (Featuring Eric Marienthal) [4:00]
05 Blackbird [3:07]
06 Funk Shui (Featuring Donald Hayes) [5:40]
07 Heart of Hearts [5:11]
08 Fiestaville [3:55]
09 Cecil's Tune [4:05]
10 Put Your Records On [3:44]
11 Stella by Starlight [3:18]

Further review:

B3 Soul