Paul Scherer
"Cosmic Kiss"

(Paul Scherer)
Cosmik Kiss

Review by Brad Walseth

Paul Scherer is recognizable as a much in demand keyboardist who appears around town with various artists like the Joel Moore Quartet and Agnieszka Iwanska. A fine player across many genres, Scherer proves to be a wonderful composer as well, as proven by his third album release - "Cosmik Kiss."

"Sundance" starts things off bright and peppy. This happy song reminds me of the days when artists like Bob James, Chuck Mangione and Spyro Gyra were played on contemporary pop radio, but there is a modern feel and sound that ensures this isn't music of the past. The title track continues this trend, but this time with a Brazilian groove and some very tasty intervals. Here, as throughout, Scherer's keyboard sounds are impressive - smooth and clean without sounding like synthetic presets.

"All For the Best" starts with a beautiful prelude that shows Scherer has a real way with the classical idiom as well as a superb sense of sound. The strings and horns here are luscious and sound very real, although played on the keyboards. I could see this lovely music as a soundtrack to a film quite easily. Meanwhile, the piece itself is quite rewarding with some lovely piano playing and great rhythm section sequences including "guitar." That Scherer has done all this amazing work on his keyboards is a testament to his hard work and attentive listening skills. This is smooth jazz, in the very best sense, and would be not only be a welcome addition to a smooth listening playlist, but would blow most of the current entries away.

"Crossroads" features masterful chord changes, shifting tempos and a delicate sense of space. Again, this reminds me of Bob James or Dave Grusin at their best, but with a more updated overall sound. "Blue" really revives the Grusin sound and proves again that Scherer has a strong sense of melody on this bittersweet gem.

"The First Day of Autumn (With You)" is a catchy burner with a very cool bass line and some great piano that is perhaps my favorite number on the album. Meanwhile, the aptly titled "Skipping Time" again returns to the happy mood of the opening number and perhaps even to the innocence of childhood. There are occasional slight hints of sadness and regret in Scherer's composition, but none of the angst that seems to have fallen over much of modern music.

"Remembering" ends this fine recording and is another mature and melodic piece that will have you remembering to play this album again. Scherer is a talented musician and composer and someone to keep an eye on as he continues his career.

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Contact Brad Walseth and JazzChicago.net at bwalseth60@aol.com

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