Audio Mixer: David Rideau.
Photographer: Bobby Quillard.
There are no surprises on Brian Simpson's fifth solo release, Just What You Need. The ten cuts are comprised of catchy, laid-back smooth jazz arrangements with elements of lite R&B, executed with ease and a very clean production. The two standout tracks, for very different reasons, are both cover versions. "The Girl from Ipanema" (with Dave Koz on saxophone) has none of the romantic breezy haze of the original, and comes across too formal and somewhat sterile. On the other hand, "You Gotta Be," the 1994 hit song by Des'ree, has an infectious, relaxed groove, featuring vocalist Jeff Robinson, that is hard to get out of your head. Also making guest appearances on Just What You Need are celebrated smooth jazz musicians Gerald Albright, Marc Antoine, Elan Trotman, and Jonathan Butler. ~ Al Campbell