Andrey Chmut – Smoothability

A delicious amalgam of mellow grooves and funky rhythms, the aptly titled Smoothability is the dynamite with which Ukrainian born, rising sax star Andrey Chmut is making what promises to be a truly explosive debut. Typified by the upbeat title cut (and first radio single) which includes Wha Wha guitar from the unmistakable U-Nam, Smoothability is living proof that, in this joined up musical world, an effective social media presence can be the avenue to great success. In fact it was Andrey’s work with Artem Lebedev that provided him with YouTube exposure, which he later built on through appearances with fellow Skytown label mate Valeriy Stepanov.

Andrey played sax on four of the tracks from Stepanov’s debut CD New Beginnings and now for Smoothability Stepanov has written three new songs to ensure the favor is well and truly reciprocated. The first, the lusciously mellow Those Sweet Nights, proves to be right on the smooth jazz money and much the same can be said of Don’t Loose the Faith that remains sumptuously ‘in the pocket’ throughout. Completing this glittering trio of original Stepanov compositions is Night Ride where Chmut’s playing is impeccable and although Jazzed Up delivers exactly what the title suggests it might it is with K-S.U. that Andrey confirms that here is a guy who really knows smooth jazz.

Chmut writes or co-writes six of the ten choice tunes yet in this oasis of new music the album’s only cover is Andrey’s fresh take on Kirk Franlin’s 2005 hit Imagine Me. Elsewhere, a true standout in a collection full of them is Moving Forward which not only has a vibe that might well get in your head and not go away but also features the timeless Bob James on electric piano. In fact on hearing of Andrey’s deal with Skytown Records to release Smoothability it was James who was first with a message of support: “Congratulations on finding a new home for your music with Skytown Records. I hope it will lead to lots of success and it becomes a big #1 hit for you!”

More magic comes with another of Chmut’s own tunes, Song for a Friend for which U-Nam makes a welcome return on featured guitar while later the uplifting I’ll Always Be There benefits from carefully crafted vocal contributions from Artem Banar and Cleulia Daniel.

It’s been a journey and no mistake but now, with Smoothability, Andrey is finally stepping center stage.

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