The success of smooth jazz music continues to allow artists to explore a mellow, ambient form of jazz that enjoys a wider audience than more traditional styles do. But there is no mistaking smooth jazz sound. On Marc Antoine’s newest album, Hi-Lo Split, he stylistically merges the classical guitar that he plays with the popular spills of the familiar radio jazz.
On his opener track, “For a Smile,” Antoine’s employs a simple drum programming with an effective organ accompaniment, along with a definite classical guitar for a nice effect. On the second tune, the slip into the usual smooth jazz vein is immediately evident. That continues for largely most of the album. Marc Antoine, a French guitarist known for his classical guitar bathed in jazz, has a distinct approach to his art. At times, you can detect a strain of Heines in his guitar notes but, more often than not, the classical approach stands out. The soft keyboards accompaniments of Frederic Gaillardet are nice and add much to the atmosphere of the songs.
On Hi-Lo Split, Antoine wrote ten of the eleven tunes. On the one cover that he performs, “Spooky” by the Classics IV (“…love is kinda crazy with a spooky little girl like you…”), he is in a groove that works well. The replay value of this standout track is high. It is more laid back than the original but that’s ok, the song weathers it splendidly.
For fans of smooth jazz, Hi-Lo Split is a different curve ball for you to enjoy.