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on 15 November 2013
A NEW solo studio release from Jason Rebello was always going to be something of an event, given his track record as one of the UK's most respected jazz/rock keyboard players - and, with an album a year in the making, he's certainly back with a funky, soulful BANG!

The excitement of `Anything But Look' is due, in part, to so many of its ten originals having considerable commercial appeal (easily radio hits) - yet, delving deep into the detail, there is much to savour in terms of differing vocal performances, shifting time signatures and modulations, clever tricks, flicks and textures... all held together by Rebello's multifarious, entertaining keyboard work. He has a terrific understanding of the `nuts and bolts' of jazz (his Steinway-only interpretations of standards and folksong were brilliantly displayed in a recent acoustic trio gig at Kings Place with Stephen Keogh on drums and bassist Alex Davis). Here, he combines that mastery with his vast experience of touring over the years as keyboardist for the likes of Jeff Beck, Sting, Peter Gabriel and Joss Stone.

The hand-picked personnel of established and up-and-coming instrumental and vocalist friends provide a sumptuous programme, the result being an intensely joyous, positive and personal album which Rebello describes as "a musical kaleidoscope of jazz, soul, Latin, funk and rock, painting a picture of a soul's journey into the unknown. We all are made up of light and dark, but we don't usually want to acknowledge what we really are, due to a fear that we may discover something terrible... we will do anything, but look!"

The funkiest of electric bass and clav grooves open the show, celebrated soul singer Omar's resolute tones delivering the catchy Know What You Need, Pino Palladino providing a fantastic ground for Rebello's typically glittering piano and electric piano soloing. Sumudu Jayatilaka's beguiling voice intertwines effortlessly with Rebello's piano on The Man on the Train (with a hint, maybe, of Gordon Sumner in its sublime slower section) - and Troy Miller's drums, the percussion of Miles Bould and Karl Rasheed-Abel's acoustic bass provide the irresistible pulse. Bouncy 7/8 instrumental Without a Paddle, with cheeky contrary motion hook and Paul Stacey's bristling guitar, is breathlessly compelling - so much going on, a real smile-inducer!

Solid bass and pitch-bent synth characterise the beautifully-measured chill-out title track Anything But Look before Alicia Carroll's soprano voice brings theatrical urgency to the more sinister Dark Night of the Soul, an intoxicating multitracked masterclass in Rebello's considerable piano and keyboard prowess - breathtaking to listen closely. With Immediate Effect flows along with all the amiability of a Lyle Mays/Pat Metheny favourite, backing vocals, guitar and synth soloing the key to this likeness. Sadness-tinged ballad Is This How? features the vocals of US jazz/R&B singer Will Downing and the adept, prodigious drumming of Rebello's 14 year-old son George - a particularly beautiful, poignant and memorable chorus here; and young singer Jacob Collier's precise wordless vocals are a perfect match for the bright keys of In The Thick Of It, jazz stalwart Tim Garland (on flute) adding to the lightness of touch.

Joy Rose's vocal warmth and dexterity in the deliberate, soulful New Joy symbolise the sincerity of this release, Miller and Palladino again creating a fantastic rhythm, Rebello and Garland just magnificent - joy all round! Concluding, Xantoné Blacq presents the uplifting, perhaps even spiritual lyric of Lighten Up The Load, the Latin flavour of Bould's percussion and Rebello's piano octaves taking us on our onward journey.

The fervour and craftsmanship of 'Anything but Look' are stunningly evident. Indeed, Jason Rebello's creativity, optimism and technical wizardry might well encourage us through the long, dark winter months - as the fade-out whispers, "See you on the other side"!......
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 January 2014
This album has been getting a lot of airplay on Jazz FM - no doubt as it is a nice mix of approachable and radio-friendly styles. Jason Rebello is known as a star session musician, but here he is joined by a number of guest vocalists, like Omar on the first track - which is very catchy, with funk bass from Pino Palladino and some great Fender Rhodes which sets the mood for the album.

Most tracks are like modern updates of fusion era Headhunters with Herbie Hancock, apart from the tracks with featured vocalists, where it veers more towards soul than funk. But despite the impression this may give, there is great musicianship throughout and Rebello's arrangements are always interesting. There are many improvised solos from the leader, on acoustic and electric pianos, as well as some interesting synth sounds that have a pleasingly "retro" feel.

Other tracks incorporate Latin grooves and there is a great variety of music on the one album - Rebello shows all of his talents and all the experience he has gained, working with the big names in the music business. First and last tracks are the stand-out tracks, Xantoné Blacq providing very nice vocals to end the album. Overall there is something for everyone to like here - highly recommended.
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on 26 November 2014
Jason R is back, but on this album his composition skills are showcased possibly more than his performance skills. Jason takes many solos, but somehow these are not in the spotlight and you might feel a little disappointed about this; however, there are some amazing moments in the solos he plays. In fact there are a couple of sounds he uses that I myself, at least, haven't heard anywhere else. The compositions are not short of amazing, and the carefully selected and assembled personnel give possibly unsurpassable performances.

I have to give this five stars because of the amazing composition skill coupled with the immediacy and directness of effect. The music is, IMHO, that of a great composer BUT: there is a lot of soul searching material, and there is one song that I cannot listen to because it takes me to the very darkest places I've ever been in my life. Also it would have been nice to have had some piano, bass + drums material.

This album is a musical journey, possibly telling a personal story, I don't know. It could be my story, or Jason R's, or yours. It feels like a relationship splitting then re-kindling, pulling you through all the emotions involved. Looking for more, meeting someone incompatible but wow, going through pain and guilt, hopelessness, new discovery, then new beginning. I guess that this is the journey the album intends, stepping outside in order to look at ourselves before finding happiness in ourselves as we really are. It's all great, but make sure you're emotionally unassailable before you listen to it!
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on 6 December 2013
I am in awe of this man, he is simply a brilliant musician and this album is fantastic. What a great professional group of musicians Jason has pulled together. A wonderful range of tracks, buy it for yourself or for someone for Christmas, you won't regret it.
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on 22 September 2014
I had over a decade hiatus in between Jason Rebello purchases and was not disappointed with this one. Just wondering why I'd left it so long ...
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on 15 July 2015
received with thanks
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on 29 January 2014
Nice to Dee Jason back after such a quiet period. This album gives a wide flavour of JB's previous jaunts into the world of Jazz & funk with slightly more emphasis on the latter. Personally I would have like more emphasis on JB's keyboard work which is where he shines. This was exemplified by his work with Jeff Beck on his Ronnie Scott album. JB was simply stunning on that album. More like this please JB!
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