Never Give Up on Love
'Never Give Up On Love'- It's Soul Jazz! It's smooth groove for lovers. Southern California-based keyboardist Billy Mitchell has been making satisfying soul jazz albums since the mid-'80s. Before there was smooth jazz, Mitchell was churning out chart topping productions for the 'Quiet Storm' format. Although conventional music industry wisdom has long dictated that a jazz musician must take sides - either you play straight-ahead be-bop, or you go fully contemporary and cater to the smooth jazz audience - pianist and producer Billy Mitchell loves playing both, and his refusal to limit himself creatively has earned him respect from both sides of the proverbial fence. 'Never Give Up On Love' is his latest adventure and easily among his very best compositionally, sonically and performance-wise. From the opening groove of the title track, to the sexy danceable voodoo of 'Conga Man,' the smooth echoes of 'It Could Only Be You,' the peaceful cloak of 'Forest Of Dreams,' the finger poppin' 'Blue Monday,' to the African experience of 'Homeland,' this I one of those rare CDs that you can put in and never once punch forward. There are some great tunes on this CD but your best bet is to enjoy it in it's entirety. The Billy Mitchell Group has appeared at many international festivals and countless clubs around the world. His solo career has included appearances in film, most notably Clint Eastwood's 'Bird.' In 1999 America West Airlines awarded Mitchell the Jazz For The Next Generation Award for his continued work with young musicians. His work as a clinician has centered on his book, 'The Gigging Musician' (Backbeat Books) based on interviews and his articles as a writer for Gig Magazine. Excerpts from A.Scott Galloway, music editor -The Urban Network.