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ALBUM REVIEW: "Soul Secrets" by Gregg Karukas

Nightowl Records
"Soul Secrets" is Gregg Karukas's 11th studio recording.
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ALBUM REVIEW: SOUL SECRETS by Gergg Karukas  (Nightowl Records) 2014

Although released five years ago, Soul Secrets is the most recently-released album from Grammy Award-winning smooth jazz keyboardist and composer Gregg Karukas.

I admit to coming late to Karukas’ instrumental smooth jazz that has a decidedly “organic, funky and melodic” feel about it. When I first heard a track from Soul Secrets I was immediately drawn to it.

A lot of people tend to dismiss smooth jazz as being lightweight or just background “elevator music.” But that is a dated perception.

When you really listen to this ear-pleasing, professional music – with the Bowie, Maryland native on keyboards and showcasing his musical craftsmanship - which has been honed all of these years he has been performing and recording. 

Things get really smooth on “Elegant Nights,” the fourth track on the 14-track album, his 11th solo, But just because much of Karukas’s material is smooth, doesn’t mean it’s mellow or slow. By track seven, “Snack Shack,” Kaurkas and his band are upping the ante with grooves and beats that are more contemporary jazz, with elements of soulful pop that really make it … umm … pop!

There is more of a Latin rhythm vibe on "Cafe AGoGo" while the more romantic sounds of "Only You" (cue the sexy saxophone!), which is dedicated to his wife Yvonne, is more cocktail lounge smooth - and that makes it awesome in my book. 

I have loved smooth jazz (check out "Watercolors" on SiriusXM if you are able to - quality material there!) since I was a kid. It was coming into its own in the 1970's and the studio musicians who helped solidify what would become the 70's-80's "Yacht Rock" sound are right in there with the sounds being produced - seemingly effortlessly - by the upbeat and positive Gregg Karukas and this terrific album Soul Secrets. 

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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