This Friday and Saturday, the Jazz Kitchen will host one of the most talented artists on the national smooth jazz circuit when guitarist/vocalist Steve Oliver's Quartet performs. Oliver's career, which he launched some two decades ago, combines his unique brand of guitar with vocal sounds he calls vocalese, and has him on the brink of crossing over into major pop appeal. Oliver's music is an honest reflection of his personality. His love of music and people is energetic, positive and sincere - as I found out in this conversation with him.
Steve Oliver, smooth jazz guitarist/vocalist, will be at the Jazz Kitchen Friday and Saturday, with two shows each night.
NUVO: As a consistently touring performer, what is your opinion of fans, especially jazz fans, over the past decade? Have they changed and do they impact what you play?
Oliver: You do have to adapt because of different fads, depending on whatever genre you are playing in. The fans have been more passionate, I think, as the years have gone on. Music is to make people feel good - that is my approach. Now we need more of that feel-good music because there is a lot of negativity musically. I care about music and people; that's the bottom line.
NUVO: How would you describe your musical personality?
Oliver: I kind of like the world music thing. It encompasses so many different styles. I don't say I am a jazz player, a pop player or a rock player. I love music, I look at music as a way to express myself and to make people feel good.
NUVO: Your CDs seem to emphasize the smooth jazz genre.
Oliver: I like those genres because you can do different things, you can apply different musical elements. You are more limited in pop. There's a lot of criteria in different formats. At least with contemporary jazz there is a little play you can experiment with.
Oliver's experiments and eclecticism are paying off. His latest CD, 3D, is in the top 10 on all smooth jazz rating charts and he will perform at the Playboy Jazz Festival in the Rose Bowl this summer.
If you want to hear an exceptional guitarist with a new sound and energetic positive music, then don't miss the Steve Oliver Quartet May 6 and 7 at the Jazz Kitchen. Oliver is a winner.
* Vibes artist Billy Wooten & Friends can be heard on Thursdays performing from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the House Cafe in Glendale.
* Orquesta Bravo will celebrate Cinco de Mayo with salsa sounds Thursday at Birdy's starting at 8:30 p.m.
* Oliver Nelson Jr. Quintet featuring David Baker and Jamey Aebersold will perform a free concert at the Hancock County Public Library in Greenfield Thursday at 7 p.m. Reservations recommended. Call 317-462-514, ext. 12.