Album Review: Alan Chang – Check Please

Alan Chang is probably best known as Michael Bublé’s musical director for almost 20 years but he also has a solo career of his own. He’s been learning to play music since the age of six and fell in love with jazz aged thirteen. It was lockdown and his 40th birthday that inspired a shift in momentum for him, culminating in his most recent full-length release. It’s called Check Please.

By Graeme Smith

During coronavirus lockdown, Alan began collaborating with a group of songwriters and Check Please sees plenty of collaboration too, right from its opening track, a team up with saxophonist Dave Koz called Natalie Explain. There’s a touch of the classic pop about Alan’s style, and the album opener is beautifully emotional. His flair for song writing is readily apparent in his descriptive lyrics, especially during a memorable chorus.

Love As A Weapon takes things in a jazzier direction without losing the catchy pop. Its biting lyrics are particularly striking. Let’s Not Come Down, featuring Inara George, slows things down, feeling delicately lo-fi. Rest of My Life features Sam Gendel and has some wonderfully vivid imagery in the lyrics. Only Sight rounds off the album’s first half with a dreamy moment of escapism.

Ms. Finicky is a fiery start to the album’s second half. Set Me Free, with Jean Caze, delves deep into classic jazz before Aperitif provides a short, atmospheric coda. Favorite Of The Gods is an adventurous romantic electronic pop meditation before Wander closes the album with some moody, piano-led introspection.

With all his experience, Alan Chang knows what he’s doing when putting together jazz pop music. It’s impressive, given what he’s done for Micheal Bublé over the years, that he still has all these tracks in his back pocket to perform. Check Please is a wonderfully eclectic mix of songs that hang together around Alan’s love of jazz. It’s a must listen for fans of the genre.

Check Please features Pino Palladino on bass and Dave Koz on saxophone. You can give it a listen below.