Remotejazz – Oceanview – Review

RemotejazzFrederick, Maryland: home to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. One could argue that it is also home to another kind of medicine – Remotejazz for the soul. I am of course talking about music. But not just any music. Frederick, MD, is the home to Robert L. Bryant, an independent artist, record producer, and owner of his own small record label Key Music Productions, LLC. Bob has become a master of what he calls “A combination of jazz, pop, soul, r&b with electronic sounds,” but you and I might call it smooth jazz. However you want to categorize it, Bob creates music that puts your soul at ease and allows your mind to wander to your happy place.

Remotejazz – Oceanview

Bob is the founder and sole member of Remotejazz, the name for his smooth jazz project. Started in 1999, Bob put out a few releases and had his first minor hit in 2010 with “As I Have Loved You.” After putting out numerous projects since, 2018 brought the release of his 5th project entitled Ocean View. This record finds Bob collaborating with his musical partner in crime Dave Jarvis on saxophone. The two have a beautiful musical chemistry and you can tell making music together is easy for them.

Ocean View opens with a short intro followed by the title track, which is very aptly named. Bob plays a wonderful monophonic synth line which leads us right into the sounds of the ocean. No doubt you can picture yourself sitting in a cozy cove off the Pacific Ocean or maybe lounging on the beach of your own private island. The song’s driving drum programming along with generous use of sweeping pads puts the listener in a trance. Dave’s tone on the sax is nearly flawless as he blends right in with the groove Bob has set up for him here.

Some really great electric Rhodes playing kicks off the next track entitled “Random Acts Of Kindness.” While still providing a trance like atmosphere, the beat here provides more of a dance-like, funky feel. And what a great name for a track. Next time you are at the Starbucks drive-thru and this song comes on, remember to buy the guy behind you a latte!

Another wonderfully constructed track from this record is “Examine Yourself.” This song is a great marriage of programmed synth sounds and live saxophone. After Bob has a run at it with some great lead synth work, Dave comes in with the perfect musical answer. With phrases that are a little “outside” of what the listener may expect, it somehow fits beautifully into the musical tapestry. You can tell Bob and Dave have done this before and the result is a smooth jazz masterpiece.

The only criticism I have here is that the whole project seems a little over-compressed. This is a common problem for independent artists as we are all trying so hard to get our overall volume to match the industry standard. But I think these tracks could benefit from pulling the compression back just a bit and letting them breathe more with dynamics. All in all, Ocean View is a solid outing for Bob and Remotejazz. It provides some wonderful atmospheric moments setting the mood and providing the right musical landscape for a time of reflection or meditation. If you are a fan of artists like Boney James or Funk Porcini, you are going to love Remotejazz. Our lives are so full of stress and we certainly don’t want to become schlumped because of it, so it’s important that we take some time to relax and rejoin the others in our happy place. Remotejazz’s Ocean View will get you there every time.

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