The Smooth Jazz Ride (Jan. 27, 2015) Ronald Jackson
In the mood for some cool, passionate, and rhythmic Latin jazz with all of the exoticism of all of its colors? Canadian guitarist Terry Gomes offers here on The Sand in My Shoes just what you’re seeking with a 5-track EP of warm Latin grooves. The project was released in the latter part of 2014 and just recently brought to my attention. I decided that it would be a great injustice not to share my thoughts on this airy rather infectious offering.
You hear more than a Latin groove right from the lead track “Look Alive!” Your mind and soul immediately wrap themselves around the delicious scenery of sunny island beaches and palm trees and perhaps a romantic nighttime serenade made just for lovers (try ”Tradewinds” on for size).
There is a lot of cultivated charm here with some very adept guitar work from Gomes who’s joined by a great group of support musicians including Gino Scaffidi on rhythm guitar, Stu Watkins on bass, and a wealth of percussion contributions from René Fortier and Ross Murray.
Not as fiery as a lot of rumba or Nuevo Flamenco music, this project still hits the sweet spot and captures that island mood in an interestingly subtle and gentle manner. ¡Que suave!
The Smooth Jazz Ride
The Daily Vault (Sept. 26, 2014) Benjamin Ray
There's always a joy in hearing an artist return to the music that inspired him or her, to fully commit an album to their roots and influences. It happens a lot with the blues, sometimes with gospel, folk or country, rarely with calypso and Caribbean music. Yet the latter is the path that Terry Gomes has taken on his fifth release, a five-song EP titled The Sand In My Shoes.
That title is meant to evoke images of sunkissed beaches, crashing surf, palm trees and tranquility, and this disc is the perfect soundtrack to that atmosphere. It's also a departure for Gomes; hints of this island-inspired guitar work have appeared on his previous albums, but it was usually tempered by folk, pop and light country influences. Here, it's simply five upbeat, laidback songs that would go well with a Bahama Mama and a tiki torch.
Now, you read that and you think of Jimmy Buffett or something, but Gomes does not pander. Because calypso and Latin American music have been part of his personality for so long, the songs here are genuine and heartfelt. Even the titles evoke the mood of each song, from the lovely beach stroll "Hey Sweet Shirley" to the reflective "Tradewinds" to the joyful "Look Alive!" That joy is a crucial element of Gomes' music ever since Gomesongs, and it finds a natural home here.
If there's a downside, it's that the five songs are very similar to each other, almost sounding like one long 16-minute song with five movements. Perhaps that's what Gomes intended, yet one wonders if there were more facets of this type of music to explore, different tempos, instruments and moods that could have been used. Maybe that will happen on future discs and this is a dry run...although, knowing Gomes, the next disc will probably be techno-jazz covers of Megadeth B-sides or something.
Still, The Sand In My Shoes is an appealing, cheerful, sun-drenched journey that is as fun to listen to as it no doubt was the Gomes to create.
Exclaim! Magazine (Sept. 2, 2014) Ryan B. Patrick
Breezy and bursting with artistry, Ottawa-based guitarist Terry Gomes mines jazz guitar motifs with Caribbean and Latin flair. The Sand In My Shoes marks his fourth project, and the five-track EP delivers well-crafted instrumental vibes with notes of Brazilian, Cuban and Calypso music. Gomes is of Guyanese descent and it shows: he cites artists such as '60s guitarist Jorge Renan and Venezuelan musician Hugo Blanco as influences, and the diverse nature of The Sand In My Shoes draws on multicultural musical influences from across the Caribbean.
It would be disingenuous to term this elevator music, considering the multi-genre artistry on tracks like "Look Alive!" and "Hey Sweet Shirley," which evoke positive moods and sanguine temperaments. "Tradewinds" typifies the mood of the project — smooth music that goes down easy.
Cashbox Canada Magazine (July 31, 2014) James Lizzard
What better to review on a weekend when everyone should be having some fun in the sun. The Sand in My Shoes is an EP from Ottawa-based Terry Gomes, who is a guitarist influenced by smooth jazz with a Latin American flavor.
This is his 5th recording, and credits much of his influences on his upbringing and musicial inspirations. “Growing up in a Guyanese family, I was exposed to a lot of Caribbean-based music, including calypso and a variety of other music from South America and Latin America. I have played many genres of music, but after the passing of my father and uncle, I moved into a type of music and recording that would have made them proud.”
Gomes studied classical guitar and modern composition at the University of Ottawa. He graduated with an Honours degree and went on to teach guitar for a decade, while performing in various bands.
‘Look Alive’ opens up the EP, and is a timeless song, with smooth guitar lines and slick percussion, ‘Hey Sweet Shirley’ shows the folk/rock influence of Gomes earlier days, ‘Tradewinds’ is truly the jewel on the recording; for anyone who has walked the beach watching a Caribbean sunset, this is it. ‘On The Pier’ is a great production of simple guitar and tasteful percussions, and the closing track ‘Hide and Seek’ brings the whole production together, once again showing the true experience of great musicians.
All five songs are composed by Terry Gomes, and the production is clean, well produced and a nice offering. Great for a summer listen or even put it on for the cold winter months ahead so you can remember how it felt to have ‘The Sand in My Shoes’.
CBC's Music Matters--Page 5 (July 24, 2014)