Straight And Smooth 0404


rovi.MR0001115456 4/6/04 Used

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    Straight And Smooth 0404 Three Keys Music

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Review Text Many artists who have made their mark in smooth jazz have equal facilities for and foundational backgrounds in bebop, but marketing concerns force them into one corner or the other. Some artists, like George Duke, are fortunate enough to be on labels that have allowed them to do a little of both. Bobby Lyle, a veteran keyboardist who has always infused his funky rhythm and jazz with a touch of elegance and improvisational spirit, found a good match with Three Keys Music, and here offers a dual-minded two-CD project that captures both aspects of his musical prowess. Nothing on the 11-song "Smooth" disc is quite as captivating as the material on his 2002 hit, Joyful, but there's a lot for fans of his playful side to enjoy. The bouncy, ultra-percussive jam "Tippin'" begins with Lyle's light key touch before getting more feisty and brassy; "Hip Swing" is equally funk-intensive, balancing Lyle's spirited melody with David Dyson's dark bass thump edges. "La Clave" is not only pop-oriented but Latin as well, with Lyle focusing on irresistibly jumpy ivory runs. Mindful that smooth jazz draws from both modern and old-school pop-soul music, Lyle does tasty covers from R&B icons of each era -- R. Kelly's sensuous dance number "Step in the Name of Love" and Barry White's "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby," a romantic romp featuring Lyle's cool spoken word seduction that approximates the master. The "Straight" CD, played by Lyle with his trio (bassist Brennen Nase and drummer Mark Simmons) is also a mix of originals and covers, with Lyle gracefully (and sometimes with a touch of swing) interpreting Hammerstein/Kern's "The Song Is You," Wayne Shorter's contemplative "Nefertiti," and Jobim's "The Wave." "Harlem Blues" is also given a tight workout. The best of the originals is the frenetically paced "New World Order," whose deft improvisations leave no room for doubt that this R&B-driven smoothie can get down with the legendary "real jazz" pianists who have inspired him. ~ Jonathan Widran

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Song Is You - 9:46
  2. 2. Nefertiti - 6:40
  3. 3. New World Order - 5:49
  4. 4. Wave - 6:17
  5. 5. Yesterdays - 7:57
  6. 6. Deep Six - 7:42
  7. 7. There Is No Greater Love - 6:02
  8. 8. Blues for Dexter - 9:41
  9. 9. Bop to Bach - 4:58
  10. 10. Body and Soul - 7:36
  11. 11. Harlem Blues - 5:04

CD: 2

  1. 12. Tippin - 4:24
  2. 13. Step in the Name of Love - 5:32
  3. 14. Clave - 5:34
  4. 15. Passion by the Sea - 5:35
  5. 16. I'm Going to Love You Just a Little More Baby - 5:11
  6. 17. Desert Ride - 4:17
  7. 18. Road to Redemption - 6:11
  8. 19. Hip Swing - 5:30
  9. 20. Dance'n - 5:20
  10. 21. Back Door - 5:15
  11. 22. Easy Living - 3:08

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