“Canada has yet another reason to be proud of its ever growing talent pool of musicians, as Lorraine Rousseau and Robert Carlton have put together with Acoustic Café. Released in 2001, this album is one of the friendliest and accessible I’ve come across in the last few months. With an emphasis on flute and guitar, acoustic fans are in for a wonderful surprise with this recording.
“The Path We Walk” starts off with a simple but memorable melody featuring flute and guitar, and eventually blends in some light synth work. The sheer beauty of this piece is testament to the highly refined skills that Rousseau and Carlton bring to the table. “Memories of May” brings a more upbeat acoustic approach, with nary a trace of anything remotely electronic. The result is a highly polished, wonderfully refined cut that really shines.
“Garden Gate” again brings out a lovely melody as does “Nature’s Way”. I particularly like the way the percussion and guitar work together on “Nature’s Way”, and the flute work is simply fantastic. “This November” brings to mind the late fall, with a more jazz-based presentation. “By My Side” has some of the finest guitar work to be found on Acoustic Café, and will definitely keep your attention. Vocal-like synth really makes this track a standout. “After Hours” closes the album with a somewhat poignant and somber sound, and makes for a satisfying finish to an excellent acoustic experience.
Lorraine Rousseau and Robert Carlton are certainly a bright spot in acoustic circles, and I am confident we’ll be seeing more of their rich sound down the road. If you need an acoustic fix, Acoustic Café is the place you’ve been looking for…stop by and hang out!”
The Instrumental Weekly
“Given the musicianship, great compositions and production values, it’s no wonder that It’s a Mystery is being heard in millions of homes around the world” “It’s a Mystery is an enchanting album of contemporary instrumental music. Lorraine Rousseau plays flute with a sweetly romantic flair, while husband Robert Carlton plays various guitars. Smooth jazz flavors waft through each track, offering a decidedly upbeat album with irresistible melodies. Rousseau and Carlton are joined by a world-class group of musicians playing keyboards, sax, bass, drums and percussion. Co-produced with Emmy award winner Jim Morgan, It’s a Mystery is becoming popular across Canada, the United States and Europe.
The alto sax of Vernon Dorge lights up “From Now On”, which includes hammond organ, fretless bass, keyboards, drums and percussion. A perfect accompaniment to watching the sunset with your sweetie, From Now On is a soothing yet sensuous antidote to the stresses of a busy day. The title track features Rousseau’s spectacular talent on the flute, along with Carlton’s acoustic and electric guitar work. Sax, bass, keyboards, light drums and percussion come together in a delightfully memorable melody.
“Angel’s Kiss” slows things way down, with Rousseau’s goldenflute carrying the lyrical, endearing melody. Given the musicianship, great compositions and production values, it’s no wonder that It’s a Mystery is being heard in millions of homes around the world.
Steve Ryals, New Age Retailer Magazine, Bellingham, WA.
“If there ever was an album to elicit strong emotion and vivid image, “It’s a Mystery” is the one. From the first intensely romantic sounds of “Your Sweet Smile,” bringing to mind candlelit dinners and moonlit walks, to the playful melodies of ” So in Love,” where the delicate, effortless notes of Rousseau’s flute winds adoringly in and about the clear, rhythmic notes of Carlton’s nylon stringed guitar, listeners are captivated by music that must surely have been inspired by some heavenly muse.”
Karen Roman, The Weekly Chronicle
Lorraine Rousseau & Robert Carlton’s music is made for dreaming, writing, thinking and loving. Each song compliments the next and as promised, creates artistic pictures in music to produce your Visionary World.
RJ Lannan, New Age Reporter
“It’s a Mystery is an apt title for this enchanting and engaging collection of songs from guitarist Robert Carlton and flutist Lorraine Rousseau. It is a mystery to me why music as disarming, pretty, and accessible as this is not getting airplay on adult contemporary and smooth jazz stations in droves. I have now embraced the fact that smooth jazz as a viable format is here to stay for a while. But, admitting that, why can’t stations find music as easy to listen to as this very pleasing recording? It’s a mystery, indeed.
Starting off with the mid tempo, lilting “Your Sweet Smile” this CD betrays its unabashed romanticism and melodicism. It’s a good match for daytime listening when something low key is desired. I really like “So In Love” with its nice keyboard work (courtesy of Gordon Sheard), the uptight funkiness of “From Now On” (which should really turn the heads of Dancing Fantasy fans), the quasi-tropical feel to the title tune, and the gentle ballad “Tender Touch”. So, call me an old smoothie or whatever.
This is a very fine collection of smooth pop instrumentals (besides guitar and flute, the CD features keyboards, drums, bass and sax) that, in my opinion, seldom (if ever) strays into that boring numbness that seems to be the mainstay of radio America these days. It’s a Mystery is an excellent choice for Saturday afternoons or evening dinner with friends or even relaxing by yourself. There’s no mystery to Robert’s and Lorraine’s CD – it’s a solid effort and I’m glad to add it to my collection.”
Review by Bill Binkelman © 1998 Wind and Wire
A CD filled with easy-going and engaging music. One of the musical genres that gets slighted a lot is adult contemporary instrumental music. This CD from Lorraine Rousseau and Robert Carlton is an exceptional example of “commercial” (that is, accessible and radio-friendly) music done with warmth, sincerity and tons of talent. The music on It’s A Mystery includes songs of various tempos and emotional moods (from cheerful to a little funky to sweetly romantic) and all of it is so well-done that to fault this recording because it’s in the wrong genre (i.e. it’s smooth jazz/AC) is narrow-minded in the extreme. If all smooth jazz and AC music were as good as the songs on this recording, I would hope it would be played everywhere. It’s A Mystery is so much better than most of what passes for “music” in this genre that I have no problem recommending it highly. If you’re looking for great sunny afternoon music or a CD to play for dinner guests, this is the ticket right here!
Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire
“Wonderful Christmas time… Lorraine Rousseau and Robert Carlton help us to feel the magic and mystery of Christmas time. These two very talented musicians first met in 1982 at the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto, Canada). After realizing that they have many similar interests, connected with music and beyond, Rousseau and Carlton started their perfect artistic and family duet.
Since that time they successfully took part in more than 900 concerts, festivals and television appearances, and in 1997 released their debut album named, “It’s a Mystery” which has won a real success among a great number of listeners. In “A Christmas Wish” their second album, the artists decided to give their vision of traditional Christmas carols. This task was not so easy – many brilliant musicians have paid their tribute to beautiful Christmas music. Still Rousseau and Carlton brilliantly succeeded in making a new form of presenting traditional Christmas songs. And – here we have another miracle and another mystery. All the compositions, even the most famous ones, such as “O Holy Night”, “What Child is This” and “Silent Night” have obtained a new, very calm, tender and meditational sound – first of all thanks to the magical flute of Lorraine Rousseau and masterly guitar of Robert Carlton.
Of course the sound of “A Christmas Wish” was realized thanks to the perfect help of other musicians (most of them helped to record “It’s a Mystery”) – Vernon Dorge (alto and soprano saxophone), Scott Alexander (acoustic bass), Brian Leonard (drums, percussion), Howard Baer (orchestrator, midi sound design). In my view, this work can be compared with the best albums released by the famous Windham Hill musicians, and it can be considered one of the best in the field of new age music. Listen to the wonderful meditative music of “A Christmas Wish” all year round, and Christmas spirit, special feelings and waiting for miracles to come, will always be with you.”
Alexander Petrov, The Jazz Magazine, Minsk
It is very beautiful, romantic and a little bit mysterious. Also it is melodically perfect, here one can feel the classical music education obtained by these two musicians in Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music. Still, this is not the main thing. In the music by Rousseau and Carlton there is a delicate and hardly perceivable fragrance. This is a fragrance of standing on the threshold of something new and unknown. You are just ready to begin the journey and you are glad to have this meeting – meeting the unknown. This joy is a little bit worrying and intriguing, as a joy of a child, waiting for the new game to begin.
Main characters of “It’s a Mystery” are the soft flute of Lorraine and accompanying Robert’s guitar having soft nylon strings. But these characters are not lonely. In the recording of the album there took part a whole group of excellent musicians, who made the arrangements rich and juicy. These are Gordon Sheard (keyboards), Vernon Dorge (saxophone), Scott Alexander (bass) and Brian Leonard (percussion and drums). It should be added that some of the compositions ( for example “Forever You” and “From Now On”) are close to smooth jazz, which brings a refinement to the music. “It’s a Mystery” begins with a wonderfully beautiful, purely new age theme “Your Sweet Smile” which sets a tone to the whole album. In general, the album can be characterized, as “elegant new age”. I have found a definite similarity of the music by Rousseau and Carlton with the music by one more remarkable musician – Bernard Koch.
So, it is not surprising that “It’s a Mystery” has won a broad recognition from the listeners. Here, I have to say only one thing: listen to “It’s a Mystery” and plunge into a lacy stream of soft harmonies, played by extraordinary musicians.”
Serge Kozlovsky, The Jazz Magazine, Republic of Belarus, Minsk
“A smooth sophisticated instrumental set featuring accomplished performances from Rousseau on flute and Carlton on guitar.”
Christopher Jones‚ SOCAN‚ Words & Music
“It’s a Mystery is the debut album by husband and wife duo Lorraine Rousseau & Robert Carlton. The Toronto-based couple met at the Royal Conservatory of Music, a prestigious music school, in the early 80’s and embarked on a career that has spanned concerts, festivals and television appearances. Rousseau is a flautist who adds her distinctive melody line to the ten original instrumentals on It’s a Mystery. Carlton is an expert at his craft, providing the acoustic, steel and electric guitars. A talented ensemble of musicians round out this relaxing, elegant music. On the Arrow Records label, this album will garner the duo even more airplay exposure than they already have, currently being heard in over 2.5 million Canadian homes on the Cable TV Guide Channel. Perfectly geared to audiences of jazz, easy listening, and even a bit New Age, It’s a Mystery is the perfect musical interlude for a busy day or background for a romantic evening.”
Paula Kirman, Producer and “Guide” of the best World Music site on the Net at the Miningco.com
“There was obviously a lot of love and patience put into this recording(It’s a Mystery). It is one of those CD’s you play when trying to relax after a strenuous day, but find yourself concentrating on the melodies and the musicianship. A touch of latin here, some light funk (listen to From Now On) and a general feeling of world music, jazz, and folk – all combined to make for a very rich reward.”
Hal Hill, Performing Arts & Entertainment in Canada Magazine