Russ Spiegel Presents ‘Caribbean Blue’

Chilled-out jazzy licks adorn Russ Spiegel’s spry, mid-century-leaning sounds of “Caribbean Blue.” Bossa Nova, Hard Bop, and everything in between they go for this gorgeous setting. The grooves are immaculate. Lyrical instrumentation adds to the lush, serene environment of the work. Never rushing themselves, the songs have this superb, languid pacing. Atmosphere matters as it is a fundamental element of the entire album. Every song builds off the last; the album is best when taken in as a cohesive whole. They bring so many unique layers together while retaining an airiness that aims for a tropical spirit.

Nimble “The Underdown Groove” features exceptional saxophone work that introduces the track and serves as its beating heart. The rest of the band comes through with a distinctive swinging sensation. Harmonica gives “E. 22nd St.” a downtrodden, lower East Side vibe, with the switch-off to the organ a bonus. “Caribbean Blue” features a hazy heat, as tempos are slowed down to the pace of molasses. A colorful jazz guitar enters the fray with the spirited celebration of “Island Song.” Percussion has a tactile, distinctive tone, and “Slippery Slope” embraces the stylish. Antonio Carlos Jobim’s influence can be felt strongly with the Portuguese-sung splendor of “Inquietude.” On “Retribution Blues,” they take a reflective stance. On the brisk side of things is the cinematic flair of “The Streets Of Milan.” Lush chords radiate throughout “Smooth Move,” allowing for a classic, timeless sentiment. Tying everything together is the finish of “Coda Final.”

Russ Spiegel sculpts a serene, welcoming atmosphere on the elegantly executed “Caribbean Blue.”