Keeping Cool is celebrated smooth jazz guitarist Joyce Cooling’s highly-anticipated follow-up to her chart-topping 1997 album Playing it Cool (HUCD 3040).
As in her debut recording, the San Francisco-based guitarist and her co-producer/partner Jay Wagner showcase their eclectic musical tastes, surrounding the new album’s in-the-pocket smooth jazz gems with spirited excursions into bossa nova and samba, funky blues, house music, film scores and more. Cooling’s vocals highlight two tracks ("Gliding By" and "Simple Kind Of Love"), and she’s backed by Wagner on keyboards and vocals, Gary Calvin on bass, Billy Johnson on drums and Peter Michael Escovedo III on percussion.
The Keeping Cool repertoire includes the funk-driven "China Basin," an ode to the old shipyard neighborhood in San Francisco, featuring Cooling’s smooth scatting; the heavy-grooving "Cali," a tribute to a recently-departed friend who loved to dance; and the playful vibe of "Ain’t Life Grand," which draws from Cooling’s lifelong passion for the music of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Jazz, blues and soul blend in the mid-tempo "Coasting," while orchestral touches color the acoustic ballad "Out of a Movie," a rubato (no strict time) piece that explores Cooling’s and Wagner’s fascination for European movie themes.
A longtime favorite of Bay Area jazz fans, Cooling gained the national spotlight when Playing It Cool captured and held the #1 slot on both Gavin and Radio & Records smooth jazz chart for five consecutive weeks. She was subsequently named Best New (Smooth Jazz) Talent by the Jazziz magazine annual reader’s poll, was a nominee for Gavin’s Smooth Jazz Artist of the Year award, and was selected Artist of the Year by nationally syndicated radio show Jazz Trax.