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Artist: Carol Duboc
Title Of Album: Smile
Year Of Release: 2013
Label: Gold Note Music
Genre: Vocal Jazz, Smooth Jazz

On Mother’s Day, r&b/jazz singer, songwriter, and yes, mom, Carol Duboc will present in digital form her newest release Smile. Her sixth album represents a collaboration with fusion giant Jeff Lorber, co-writing and co-producing all ten songs with one of contemporary jazz’s most influential keyboardists and composers of all time. Moreover, Lorber brought in some of his heavy hitter session players to the project: bassist Jimmy Haslip, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, guitarist Michael Thompson, acoustic bassist Brian Bromberg, among others. For her part, Duboc called in Hubert Laws to contribute his first class flute to this latest project.

Though a soothing, polished singer, Duboc is also a force as a songwriter, too; she’s lent her songs to the likes of Patti LaBelle, Stephanie Mills and Jade. She’s got the talent to stand on her own, but the collaboration with Lorber really does bring together the best of both worlds.

Lorber’s Galaxy album from last year signaled a full return to his late 70s/early 80s Jeff Lorber Fusion form, with some of the reasons being that he surrounded himself with a killer backing band and he concentrated on instrumentals. But Smile shows how the good from that record can transfer to a vocal album when keeping the rhythm section intact and then adding to it a vocalist who is capable of bringing much more to the table than just singing the lyrics put in front of her.

“Telepathy,” more than the other compositions, has that classic Jeff Lorber groove, a righteous riff inseparable from the rhythm. Duboc, who is a multi-instrumentalist herself, adds her sharp lyrics and that wistful vocal delivery that cools down the groove to a just-right temperature. Another treat comes later when Laws appears, and not just because it’s Hubert Laws: Duboc scats right alongside his flute, and the two sound great in combination. They worked together on Duboc’s prior album Burt Bacharach Songbook, and that synergy carries over here.

Fans of both Duboc’s and Lorber’s music should find much to savor with Smile, and “Telepathy” shows the promise of their collaboration fully fulfilled.

Smile, which is set for physical release on May 21, is on Gold Note Music, Inc.

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