Small Talk 698


rovi.MR0000783834 6/30/98 Used

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    Small Talk 698 Zebra Records

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Review Text On his Zebra Records debut Small Talk, Eric Essix achieves such an array of sounds with his electric guitar one might think he hired everyone from George Benson to Jeff Golub to sit in. While most of the tunes fit snugly into the light funk mode (some with soulful vocals that might inspire a bit of chanting along), the more impressive numbers go over the edge; the title track begins as a gentle little ballad before Sean Michael Ray's bass goes into overdrive and Essix adds a little distortion to aim for rock god status during a blistering improvisation. The Benson effect is in full force on "Daydreamer," which blends the perfect harmonies of Essix's laid-back melody, the tender sax of Melvin Butler and Essix's own colorful scat. Golub might enjoy the guitarist's slow, simmering blues edge over Butler's low horn tones on "Last Call." One thing you can't call Essix is selfish; he's always giving his cohorts ample time to prove their harmonic chops. On "Teardrops," one of the few acoustic ballads, he plays three notes of the melody, and pianist Matt Rohde plays two to complete the hook phrase. "Street Scene" has huge pockets between the guitar for the piano and sax to carry the same melody. And on the brief but wonderfully arranged closer "Amazing Grace," Essix takes a backseat entirely, simply strumming harmony behind Butler's smoky sax spirituality. ~ Jonathan Widran

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Street Scene - 6:02
  2. 2. Teardrops - 4:21
  3. 3. No Matter What - 6:05
  4. 4. Small Talk - 5:03
  5. 5. For Real - 4:28
  6. 6. Daydreamer - 4:19
  7. 7. By My Side - 5:43
  8. 8. Smiles - 3:12
  9. 9. Hang Time - 5:07
  10. 10. Last Call - 6:12
  11. 11. Amazing Grace - 2:00

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