Detroit-born and raised Tony Jefferson, a legend in the Detroit Jazz underground scene has released his single “Latin Afro” from the upcoming project of the same name. Jefferson is one of the slickest jazz guitarists around. His laser-sharp and precise technique allows him to play crystal-clear melodies and chords, creating a cascade of shimmering sound. The synergy between Jefferson and the band on the new single is palpable. Their telepathic interplay and joyful exchange create numerous moments to willingly get lost inside the music.
“Latin Afro” is rhythmic, cool and breezy, standing as the high-water mark while showing that Tony Jefferson is rarely anything but listenable, articulate and immaculately sure of his guitar playing. Jefferson manages to make his guitar sing, and his professionalism and mastery of his instrument shine through. Overall, the track is beautifully executed as the faceless rhythm section does everything in its power to enhance the music, without being overwhelming.
Tony Jefferson’s playing and tone are as smooth as it gets, reminding me of the legends in the genre. One of the things that’s truly alluring about smooth jazz guitar playing is it is always easy on the ears. It has the hip chords, without the bombastic dissonance. This makes it a sweet listen for people that aren’t musicians, but still satisfying to the musician, because it takes restraint, knowledge and skill to deliver it well.
Clearly Tony Jefferson has done his homework on all fronts here. “Latin Afro” is a song that fits the title perfectly. Jefferson’s playing is inspiring with its technical perseverance never leaving the space that makes smooth jazz appealing to its fan base. He most definitely has fantastic chops, but keeps them neatly in check for the sake of serving a great song with a wonderful and accessible vibe. It is a stellar example of the depth and understanding of his playing.
Tony Jefferson’s crisp tones couldn’t be more fitting for the music, which is a testament to his hands, more than it is to the production. “Latin Afro” is an absolutely fantastic contemporary instrumental jazz release that features a guitar player who has all the tools in his bag. Jefferson also proves himself to be an expert at engaging his fellow musicians in meaningful musical conversations. In fact, the inspired piano work on this single adds another engaging sonic dimension to the arrangement.
On “Latin Afro”, the unmatchable guitarist Tony Jefferson caresses our ears with a good-natured and ultra-refined song. Mixing a pastoral and lounge atmosphere with a vibrant rhythm and kaleidoscopic guitar motifs, Jefferson follows an uncluttered arrangement containing enough latitude to let the music breathe and acquire a refreshing sense of groove. A natural storyteller, he shows how to deliver masterful melodies with absolutely no fuss.
With a good balance of accessible refrains and challenging solos, it is hard to deny the alluring quality of “Latin Afro”. As can be expected the production delivers an immaculately pristine sound, letting the guitar notes resonate, accenting Tony Jefferson’s touches, and having the piano prominent in just the right places. You’ll sense the song’s sense of connectivity right away.