For many instrumental artists, including some of our favorites in the world of Smooth Jazz, catchy song titles are often afterthoughts, random ideas tacked on that simply flow easy off the tongue when a radio announcer mentions them.
Bucking that trend and thinking more like a traditional songwriter, Carol Albert’s seemingly nonstop array of Top 5 Billboard charting singles these past five years have often been rooted in deeper themes reflecting her personal ever-evolving emotions – from sorrow to strength, longing to awakening, and taking a freewheeling “Femme Flight” to the freedom of“Sun’s Out” and “Perfect Sunday” – the latter accumulating over 6.6 million streams on Spotify, an unheard of sum for smooth jazz.
As the pianist/composer sweeps us up in her infectious whirlwinds of melodic grace, sometimes meditative yet often joyfully soulful grooves and explosive Brazilian-flavored flights of fancy, she also shares a sense of intimacy. As we get to know her through her music, she also invites us to apply her themes and vibes universally to our own lives.
Released in the wake of the pandemic, her engaging, high spirited and constantly sparkling and inspiring new collection Magic Mirror opens emotional and spiritual doors to a many possible interpretations.
On a personal level, and especially speaking woman to woman in a culture which too often holds our females to a certain standard of what constitutes beauty, it’s about self-acceptance, an embrace of that wonderful person seen in that reflection.
Magic Mirror celebrates the collaborative spirit of Carol and two of the genre’s greatest hitmakers, guitarist and producer Paul Brown and – for the first time – bassist Roberto Vally, a longtime essential member of Brown’s first-call studio crew and a rand and groovin’ rhythmic force and equally prolific hit songwriter for countless smooth jazz A-listers. The collection offers an about even split between Brown and Vally co-writes and co-productions, with Brown helming the title track, “Paradigm Shift,” the digital-only single “Crashing,” “Sopporo Dream” and “Sometime,” and Carol and Vally joining forces on “Fire & Water,” “Sol Ipanema,” “The Chase“ and “Angels Watching Over Me.”
Beyond the big hit “Fire & Water” and her #1 Billboard single “Paradigm Shift,” Carol has at least four or five more potential radio hits here – but the stylistic depth and personal emotion Carol infuses into the tracks beyond these infectious gems makes Magic Mirror the one Smooth Jazz-oriented release his year to immerse in as a full album experience.
Written By Carol Albert, Shane Thierot, Paul Brown
Mixed by Paul Brown, The Funky Joint
Produced by Paul Brown
Engineered by Carmen Grillo
Carol Albert: Piano, Synthesizers
Shane Theriot: Guitars, Drum Programming
Roberto Vally: Bass
Greg Vail: Saxophone
Listen to Magic Mirror on Smooth Jazz Buzz (Playlist 10/7).