(5 out of 5 stars)
"I heard "Down Here Below" and thought it was one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. I can't wait to buy the album."
A 5-STAR, STAR SPOTTED ON THE UPPER EAST SIDE
Phil Leigh | 02/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Someone in the crowd shouted out, "Stella by Starlight", to which he replied, "Oh, Okay sure, Stella it is".
The band swung a complete chorus as an intro, and then he opened his mouth, and the most amazing voice filled the air, it was the most refreshing experience, like none I'd ever heard. This was the most incredible version of Stella by Starlight, I have ever heard in my 65 years (and that includes Sinatra, Eckstine, anyone!) His delivery was so seamless, I knew instantly that this was a seasoned pro, and that this was a moment in the making. What I didn't understand was how this man could possibly have been such a huge secret to me. He finished the song to a thunderous ovation, and shouts for "MORE"!, and he effortlessly shifted gears into the blues, bringing down the house."
HITS YOU WHERE YOU LIVE
Phil Leigh | 08/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have bought this album at least a dozen times (since its release in 1999) and have given some of them as gifts.
It is worth every star it's given, because it's rich, raw, real, down to earth, and it hits you smack dab in the center of where you live - "In the Heart"; That's because Jeffery Smith is one of those rare exquisite vocalists that sings from his heart (as if it were dangling from his sleeve). His choice of songs is fabulous. The duet with Dianne Reeves is exquisite (I've yet to hear a more perfect match of 2 voices). The title song by Abbey Lincoln, is so profoundly powerful and gut wrenching (What a paradoxical singer; he can sooth you with velvet crooning one minute, grab your heartstrings, and pull the next, and effortlessly - The signs of a seasoned professional).
I had the opportunity to catch Jeffery's Special Guest appearance at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis and the LCJO(a year ago). He only sang 2 songs, and he blew the audience away!" There is no singer on the planet like Jeffery Smith (he's a once in a lifetime occurance, like a male Sarah Vaughn) and "Down Here Below" (as well as any of his other recordings) is documented proof of this fact.
He has consistantly topped himself, from the very first Verve recording entitled "Ramona", that he made with the Legendary Singer/Pianist, Shirley Horn, in 1995 (which senselessly; has never been released in the states -it is a travesty), thru his critically acclaimed "A Little Sweeter", that features the amazing Kenny barron Trio - Which was the first time I'd heard his magnificent sound, and was what caused me to do some research and discover that "Ramona" c.d. (a true gem of a masterpiece) was not only accompanied by Shirley Horn, but produced by her as well. For an icon such as Ms. Horns to produce, and accompany a young (at that time, virtually unknown) artist's debut recording, says a whole lot, in itself.It makes one wonder "what the hell is with the record label, that they haven't recognized the magnitude of this amazing vocalist, who's right under their turned up noses. Why hasn't Verve taken the ball and run with it, by putting one oz. of the hype they've put into some of these other artists that haven't a fraction of the gift, that this man's got (he is such a renaissance man; he even has 5 of his paintings feature in the cover (that are alone worth the 5 stars).
All I can say to the rest of the public is "Buy this, and any other C.D. that bares the name of Jeffery Smith!". And if you're lucky enough to find out about a concert (by all means) GO!" I garantee you won't regreat it. "FIVE (****5) STARS!" "And That's my Final Answer, Regis!""