Westcoast fans are quite often also very interested in jazz/fusion, which makes this newly released Japanese CD highly interesting. RENDEZVOUS consists of the duo TOSHIKI NAKADA and LANCE JYO, but is added by a large number of cool artists.
Stylewise we’re looking at quite soft westcoast and fusion vibes here. Take for example the semi-ballad “Soulmate” with RINA NISHIBE singing. It’s a really nice song with ROBBIE BUCHANAN (ex-MAXUS) on keyboards as the most well-known player. Same goes for the following song “You’ll always be the one for me” with KAZUTAKA ISHII on lovely vocals, BRUCE GAITSCH on classical guitar, KERE BUCHANAN on drums (and others).
You get neatly performed vocals and instrumental parts on this CD. Other familiar names are BILL CANTOS (lead vocal on “Melody”), MICHAEL THOMPSON (lead guitar on “All of the time”, where JANEY CLEWER sings) as well as MAURICE BEGA who sings lead vocals on two songs.
When it comes to arrangements there are some JAY GRAYDON:ish influences, not surprisingly, if you listen closely to the guitars, keyboards and backing vocals. And the guitar solo by MICHAEL THOMPSON in “All of the time” is excellent!
I’d say the general westcoast fan will find this very soft, and some of you may even think it’s too soft. Well, just listen a few more times and discover the neat arrangements and all the really good vocalists – I even see what must be a Swedish singer HENRIK HANSSON that I didn’t know about! You can also be sure that the “less known” names are performing very well; one example is guitarist RAMON STAGNARO who delivers a tasteful solo in “Soulmate”. Also, considering the small number of new westcoast related releases the past few years, I applaud anything like this to add to the collection.