Album release December 2003
1. Secret Jewels
2. So What
3. Lily Was Here
4. Try A Little Tenderness
5. You've Got A Friend
6. Hard Work
7. The Seduction (Love Theme)
8. Watermelon Man
10.Against All Odds
ALBUM REVIEWS . . .
"...I first heard Johnny Hooper when on holiday in Albufeira. To my jazz ears his sound reminded me of a heady mix of Earl Bostic and David Sanborn. Now, several years and several albums on, I'm still a fan.
His latest CD, Secret Jewels, keeps up the high standard. There's real variety on this one; a great jazz-funk version of Miles Davis' 'So What' to a lovely version of the old standard 'Try A Little Tenderness' to Carol King's pop classic 'You've Got A Friend'. They all get the treatment from Johnny's soaring alto. His distinctive sound is yet again enhanced by the other fine musicians in his band.
So if you like your music smooth but with an edge, this one's for you."
ALAN STEADMAN - Jazz Waves, Radio Tay, Scotland
"...a well-produced album of instrumentals, we find Johnny Hooper playing alto sax, Carl Simmonds (who also produced and engineered the recording) on keyboards and Hywel Maggs on guitar. Backing vocals are also provided by Alex McIlquham.
The opening title track composed by Hooper features the stark alto sax with a gentle string styled undertow keenly created by Simmonds' fine keyboard playing. Johnny and the boys give a stunning interpretation to Miles Davis' modern jazz creation "So What" creating an infectious and intoxicating rendition of the number. The slow styled "Try A Little Tenderness" offers one of the best tracks on the album with searing sax solos and wicked riffs that contrasts ideally with the stunning and gentle piano solo from Simmonds. The Carol King/James Taylor composition "You've Got A Friend" is given a stylish interpretation with soft backing vocals from Alex McIlquham offering an easy gentle relaxing style.
Other tracks to look for include a sensational version of Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man", a well-performed adaptation of Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" and a groovy version of Herb Alpert's "Rise". Secret Jewels satisfies the appetite, makes its mark and pleasures the senses with a riveting rendition of Franz Schubert's "Ave Maria" bringing this fine album to its close. Secret Jewels blends exquisite pop songs with the fine world of jazz..."
GRAHAM LEES - Metro Sound Radio