It is hard to tell how long Eddie Gip Noble has been playing music (four decades? five decades?), but he was apparently touring regularly starting in the Seventies with tons of bigname soul and blues acts (and the occasional jazz and pop-rock artist) -- Gladys Knight, Gerald Albright, Etta James, Brothers Johnson, Barry White, The Drifters and on and on. The weird thing is that it seems he only put out his first album a couple of years ago and just now has his second album released. But regardless, this cat knows his stuff. He works in a sort of vein that is a cross between Seventies soulful-pop-jazz (think of Herbie Hancock covering contemporary hits) and the best of the past thirty years of smooth jazz.
This guy is equally adept on both electric piano and acoustic piano. His soloing is especially tasty. It is impossible to know, of course, whether he worked out all of his solos in advance, or how much of them might be improvised in the studio. But regardless, they are generally catchy enough to be like a solo on a hit single, but innovative enough to sound like jazz and to be interesting on repeat listenings.
Noble chooses a weird assortment of pop, R&B and even country tunes to turn into his brand of smooth jazz (tunes by Springsteen, Sting, the Beatles, George Strait, Michael Jackson). But his longtime on-stage showbiz skills and arranging talent make each tune shine. Of course there is a long tradition of jazzsters tackling pop material (including such luminaries as Wes Montgomery and Oscar Peterson), so I see nothing wrong with where Noble is heading. I just wonder what took Noble so long to start recording his own CDs. Oh, now I see in his bio he was busy appearing in movies with Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, Richard Pryor and Steve Martin. Maybe that explains it. But at least Noble is here now with some very pleasing sounds. Check him out at where-else-but eddiegipnoble.com.
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