May 07, 2008


Since the late '70s, the offshoot of Jazz known as "smooth jazz" has become increasingly popular with listeners. Because the style is somewhat "laid back", it is easy to fall into the old "groove into rut" routine; therefore, it is important for a band to know what it's doing in order not to bore the listener to death.

Aniya, on its' album In the Moment and their latest album "One Love", knows how to keep the listener engaged and entertained. These six musicians come from varying backgrounds--Jazz, R&B, Gospel--and they bring all that to the table to create sophisticated sounds for the head and heart.

This music is fronted by the nimble fret work of guitarist Delbert Boyer, and the sexy sax stylings of Mark Mitchell; while the rest of the boys lay down the solid, supple rhythms and keyboard colorings, Boyer and Mitchell weave in and out of the music with the skillful dynamics of old pros. "Up All Night" and "In the Moment" are typical of the latter approach, but each man gets some spotlight time--Boyer on "God's Blue Sky", Mitchell on "D's Groove"--in which to shine.

Late in the album, the groove merchants--Tyrone Blanford on bass, Glenn Williams and Tim Sessoms on keyboards, and Nate Jacobs on drums--get their moments to excell on the hip hop influenced "Check This Out" and the Jazz meets R&B of "Longevity". In lesser hands, both of these songs would have been just ordinary, but the rhythm crew give them the right amount of oomph to send them into exquisite orbit.

Make no mistake, Aniya is a force to be reckoned with, and In the Moment is one cool collection of early morning (or late nite) bliss.

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