Andre Ward - Crystal City (2007)

Andre Ward
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Chicago saxman Andre Ward has shown over his first two albums a keen sense of melody and a mildly urban style that has made him a young favorite among smooth jazzsters.  And Crystal City should continue his string of successes.  Similar in style to Najee, Ward creates another extremely accessible set.  Unlike 2005's upbeat Steppin Out, the new album is driven by a series of top notch slow cuts And though guest vocals by the young Anita Baker-like singer Barbara Fowler and former AzYet lead Marc Nelson are nice diversions, the highlights here are the beautiful ballads "New Orleans Lights" and "When You're Alone."   There's nothing revolutionary or even very surprising about Crystal City; simply a fine collection of late night music, well performed.  And that's fine by me.  Recommended. 

By Chris Rizik

Chicago saxman Andre Ward has shown over his first two albums a keen sense of melody and a mildly urban style that has made him a young favorite among smooth jazzsters.  And Crystal City should continue his string of successes.  Similar in style to Najee, Ward creates another extremely accessible set.  Unlike 2005's upbeat Steppin Out, the new album is driven by a series of top notch slow cuts And though guest vocals by the young Anita Baker-like singer Barbara Fowler and former AzYet lead Marc Nelson are nice diversions, the highlights here are the beautiful ballads "New Orleans Lights" and "When You're Alone."   There's nothing revolutionary or even very surprising about Crystal City; simply a fine collection of late night music, well performed.  And that's fine by me.  Recommended. 

By Chris Rizik

 
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