The Smooth Jazz Ride Review

by Ronald Jackson

The most interesting and revealing Carol Duboc story continues with another chapter, Colored Glasses, offering her sweet and convincing vocals and the top-tier instrumental and co-compositional help of her partner in crime, producer/composer/keyboardist Jeff Lorber and members of his Jeff Lorber Fusion band. This very combination launched the first “chapter” of this moving story, the album Smile. The new album also features saxman Eric Marienthal and flutist Hubert Laws. So, can you imagine a project with such an arsenal failing? Neither can I.

In a refreshingly candid light, Smile was inspired by the demise of Duboc’s marriage. This next chapter focuses on trying hard to let go and move on, despite the love one still feels for the person from whom you are now separated. Such a realization for many (maybe most) can be devastating and often paralyzing, but Duboc soothes her pain and fuels her determination with music, and this album figuratively spells that word in all caps.

The album’s mid-tempo lead track “Hypnotic” gets us started with an old school mix of soul and jazz. That Lorber touch is more than evident, as is the case throughout the album (would you expect anything else from a Lorber-touched recording?). The track that immediately follows, “Every Shade of Blue,” is a piece that conveys the dilemma of trying to stay away from your former love but finding it almost impossible. A battle within that so many of us have experienced at some point in life. The sweet and gentle “Celestial Skies” nails the album’s theme in such a powerful yet melancholic way. Ah, the power and irresistibility of true love.

Duboc has placed her signature on this style of storytelling, and the luminaries she recruits to help tell the story obviously further enhance it. Simply put, here is an audio project that has to be “read” with the soul in order to feel its gravity. Chalk up one more for this enchanting songtress/storyteller.