Just simply jump right into this latest realise from talented and much acclaimed guitarist Johannes Linstead as he takes a Caribbean journey accords the world with his distinct instrumental jazz styles which are as always flamboyant, cheerful, pulsating, reflective and overall, fun.
Each of the pieces has been carefully selected to give a variation of style and theme with Linstead singing on Be My Girl, a rarity indeed. His slightly raspy tone adds a little something special to this well-loved track that takes it into another level entirely.
The introduction to the album is the fast paced Latin beat Azul, which in Spanish means blue, that could easily be in tribute to the vibrant blue of the clear waters of the Caribbean dancing in the sunlight, or for that matter the colours of the ocean to be found in so many places.
Cha Cha Chu simply keeps the vibe happening with a wonderful addition of trumpets, giving it that very definite Caribbean flavour, that brassy big band swing jazz element that gets the blood pumping and the feet dancing.
Surrender to me changes the pace a little with a slightly more relaxed, almost dreamy piece on guitar with some gentle vocals to fill the background. This piece allows the imagination to simply float and enjoy the moment.
Some strong acoustic work with deep overtones of a more generational beat sets Heaven Meets Earth apart as it shifts and changes from the melodic to the definitive. Trippy and fast, featuring the native flute is Dance of the Shaman, once again changing pace with Linstead’s signature style of mixing the traditional beat with the slightly more exotic.
Winding down and yet up is Friday Night at the Babaluu which has a little bit of everything in the composition. Fast almost hypnotic guitar, backed with some seriously good piano, brass and bass this track is definitely reminiscent of Fridays nights somewhere in the world winding down from that rather hectic week.
Finishing a deliciously enjoyable, happy, fun filled album is the instrumental version of Be My Baby. This lovely rendition creates a fitting and almost traditional finale to a time of enjoyment where the mood is relaxed, romantic; the atmosphere sated with the pure pleasure of the beauty to be found.
Azul brings a smile to the heart and beat to the feet, and as with all his music is totally, 100% enjoyable. How much better can you get?
Azul was nominated for the recently held Zone Music Awards 2018 in the Best World Album category.