Alexander Zonjic

Seldom Blues

Heads Up International HUCD 3088

Alexander Zonjic (flutes) with guests: Rayse Biggs, trumpet; Angela Bofill, vocals; Lamar Carter, drums; Bobby Colomby, drums; Bob James, keyboards & programming; KEM, lead vocal; Sherrie Kibble, background vocals; Earl Klugh, guitar; James Lloyd, keyboards, programming; Jeff Lorber, programming, percussion, keyboards & guitar; Paul Pesco, guitar; Michael Ripoll, guitar; Kevin Whalum, background vocals; Kyle Whalum, bass; Kirk Whalum, tenor sax; Peter White, guitar.

I don't listen often to smooth Jazz these days and may not be the best critic to review this CD. However, over the years I participated in several market research studies (sponsored by a San Francisco smooth Jazz station) so I do know what's out there and I openly confess that that there was a time when I really enjoyed listening to even-keeled, flowing electronic Jazz. That being said, Flutist Alexander Zonjic certainly delivers a big production with Seldom Blues. The album's personnel list includes 16 guest artists, several of them keyboardists/programmers and vocalists.

Seldom Blues is an imaginative, superbly layered smooth Jazz production. It is refreshing to have the flute as the lead instrument, rather than the ever-popular saxophone. Alexander Zonjic is a seasoned and very talented flutist who creates an ethereal, floating feeling that gives a different dimension to the - at times somewhat monotonous - electronically pre-programmed beats. What makes Seldom Blues really interesting though are the different vocalists. For example, KEM on the album's title track. His soothing, warm voice, in counter-part to Zonjic's flute, creates a cheerful, uplifting atmosphere. Another example of "I want to listen to this tune again" quality is "Spill the Wine." Here vocalist Kevin Whalum's storytelling ability is showcased in a, for smooth Jazz, rather unusual way. Smooth Jazz enthusiasts: definitely check out this release. I hope KKSF, the Smooth Jazz station in San Francisco, which sponsored the research projects I attended and keeps re-recyling those old Kenny G. tunes, is already giving airtime to Alexander Zonjic!

by Kate Kaiser