Kevin Keith

this is EJE 2008 CD $12.

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This is EJE is perhaps the first Stick-intensive foray into the Urban Jazz genre. Kevin's vocals are so strong and expressive that the appeal of this record goes way beyond the tight groove, catchy hooks and relatively unusual instrumention. Keith and Haynes have a very broad sonic palette bwteen the two of them, and EJE could easily have released a duo album, but the addition of some great players like keyboardists Jeff Lorber and Paul Harris and saxophonist Ron Brown adds a real sonic depth and polish.

The Electronic Jazz Ensemble, was born out of electronic, electric and acoustic instruments, and the kind of creative collaboration between far-flung musicians that the internet age has made possible. The core of the ensemble is the duo of Kevin Keith on Stick, bass, guitar, keys and vocals, and the amazing David "fingers" Haynes, who plays drum machines with the kind of virtuosic intensity usually reserved for more physical instruments. Haynes is also a fine trap drummer. And the three thousand mile hookup between them sounds as natural as any that two long-time musical partners would display.

The EP 2001 CD $10.

Kevin Keith is a professional sound recording engineer and consultant in the industry. He is also an experienced Stick performing artist with what I would call great hands and a polished finish to all his music, at least everything I've heard, whether it be recorded or live.

His debut CD featuring The Stick is entitled simply, "Kevin Keith, The EP", and has just been released through his own "Keith Creative Developments" in Burbank, California, (also available through us at SE). This is a state of the art studio production in the easy listening jazz vein, but the CD's ten originals sound a lot like his live trio renditions at The Baked Potato in North Hollywood, where he regularly plays.

His experience in studio production simply allows him to bring more textural depth and space to his compositions. The clean and unprocessed Stick strings contrast nicely with his keyboard and synth orchestrations. On all songs, I can hear Kevin's Stick as the live source, with bass, chords and melody all played simultaneously (as is the ethic among many Stickists), yet he plays all the instruments on this album, including piano, synthesizers, and drum programming.

On "The EP", Kevin shows several sides of himself, including his subtly effective recording techniques, his easy confidence on The Stick, and his unique jazz style. Since this is entirely the product of one man's effort, there is a strong but subtle focus of Kevin's individuality on every song and through every instrument. On the one vocal of the album, "I'm Your Man", he adds a cool but passionate presence, a vocally created character, backed by some very interesting jazz piano chords MIDI triggered on The Stick's melody side.

My favorites are "Touch", with all kinds of natural Stick string sounds, using no obvious guitar type effects, just good studio equipment. Also, I liked his original "Avenida Atlantica", which I've heard many times by now. Stick players will no doubt be interested in the relaxed left-hand bass/chord "motor" that is the mainstay of his "Avenida" arrangement. This could be a successful instrumental single, I would venture.

Then there is "Autumn Leaves" as an unadorned Stick solo, but the polish is still there. Many thanks Kevin, for a many faceted gem.