Awakenings Review
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This gorgeous piece of work is completely instrumental, smooth jazz with a spicy, Latino twist. Cortez can truly work the guitar with fast and fluent fingers in a style that reminds me a lot of Stanley Jordan. And he’s backed by an absolutely stellar band. This is the kind of music you just want to inhale.

It opens with “Arlington Park.” This one is upbeat and danceable, rich with bongos, sax and some absolutely crazy guitar solos. “Territorial Imperative” has plenty of playful sparring between Glen Ackerman on bass and Woody Witt on tenor sax. “Palmettos” is soft and romantic with guitar that makes you feel like you’re getting caught in a warm sun shower on a hot steamy day. This leads to “Interlude,” a great fiery drum solo, perfect to shake you off. Next up is “Let the Cat Out,” a long, sweet jam that is best listened to with eyes closed (definitely not road-trip fare). The title track is wonderfully soothing. “Rose of Shalimar” has exquisite saxophone work and a catchy beat. “The Iguana” features more fabulous sax stylings and a good strong bass line. “Eventide” is buttery and charming with a delightful melody.

Cortez is nothing short of genius. This is the first time I’ve heard his work and I’m floored (as in I must have every album he has ever recorded). If you’re a jazz fan, I can’t recommend Awakenings highly enough.

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