Justo Almario, Vinnie Colaiuta, Lauren Ellis, Mari Falcone, Richie Gajate-Garcia, Pat Kelley, Bill Maxwell, Michito Sanchez, Michael Shapiro, Debbie McClendon Smith, Ramon Stagnaro, Rose Stone, Lee Thornburg, Jerry Watts, Alison Wedding, Kirk Whalum, Charles Williams
New Red Coat (Falcone/Cantos)
You Can't Go Back (But You Can Go On) (Cantos/Lettau)
Give Me That Smile
Precious (Annie Lennox)
The Deepest Blue
Can I Help It
My Dream About Ella
Sweet And Lovely/
Lady Be Good (George & Ira Gershwin)
All This Love (El DeBarge)
I'll See You Tonight
Make The Storm Go Away
Movie In The Night Sky (Falcone/Cantos)
songs written by Bill Cantos except as noted
"Easily one of the best releases of the year, this amazingly diverse collection shines amidst the attempts of so many artists who feel they have to stay within certain parameters to have a chance in the commercial marketplace. Following his own highly melodic and stylistically wild muse, Cantos - a well known session player and longtime fixture on the LA club scene - darts happily between genres but keeps everything flowing by virtue of a smooth yet powerful voice that has all the inviting qualities and tender charm of James Taylor.
Though his strong phrasing and clever songwriting are the first areas to capture your attention, his keyboard playing is solid throughout. One of the best examples of this is the playful jazz soloing on the Latin-fired arrangement of El DeBarge's "All This Love." If you look at this collection like a movie, it's quite the adventure. He opens with the gospel inflected "New Red Coat," a clever story song. His sweet, heartfelt side emerges on "Give Me That Smile" and he adds a funky exoticism to a sparse arrangement of Annie Lennox's "Precious."
While the album has an amazing optimism shining through, Cantos isn't all about simply shouting praises. "The Deepest Blue" is heartbreaking in its melancholy. Recovery is complete in the upbeat "Can I Help It" (featuring some very fun vocal textures), then he breaks off to tell us about his funky little New York club dream about seeing Ella Fitzgerald and (on the best cut) telling us all about how "Sweet and Lovely" she is. His original song features lyrics drawing from titles that Fitzgerald sang and heads into a straight ahead reading of Gershwin's "Lady Be Good," with Cantos scatting much like the lady he's singing about.
A few more gentle romances lead to the grand finale, a slowly building, powerfully rewarding story about a dream Cantos had as a child, waking up to see a "Movie In The Night Sky" which, with a million stars shining as a backdrop, reflects the endlessly intriguing story of his own life and the dreams he let get away. Not strictly smooth jazz, pop, R&B, Latin or gospel, this album still finds a way to take hold and demand hundreds of listens before it could ever wear out its welcome."
--Jonathan Widran, Smooth Jazz News