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Eric Crittenden: Blu (2006)

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Eric Crittenden: Blu How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

In this program of his own compositions, singer/saxophonist Eric Crittenden gets spiritual in a musical celebration of jazz and blues. It's all from the soul. He lets the music pour naturally, with powerful influences from earlier decades, as well as up-to-date contemporary creations that make a deep impression.

Stormy Blu, the longest selection on the program at over ten minutes, leaves plenty of space for Crittenden's alto to explore the sonic landscape on an adventuresome ride. His JukeJoint Blu band provides a powerful setting as the leader moves from moody saxophone hues to a driving, multitracked vocal tirade. He closes with his sax on fire, leading the way to soul-searching and forward motion.

Crittenden's singing gets covered in sound through multitracking, strong backbeats and a swirling band accompaniment. Consequently, his lyric messages fall by the wayside in favor of instrumental forces that drive a funk groove. It's like a congregation in church where everyone sings together in such a way that no one clear voice can stand out. Crittenden's R&B vocals marry 1970s soul with 1990s hip-hop in a party atmosphere that rules out individualism. Blu is a team effort that puts your mind at ease and opens the door for party time.


Track Listing: Dig It; Todds Chili; Moon in Blu; Sho U Right; Stormy Blu; Sky; Dot Com; Thanx 4 the Cigar.

Personnel: Eric Crittenden: alto saxophone, keyboards, vocals; Eric Krasno, Steve Williamson: guitar; Jerry Livingston, Rob Wasserman: bass; Larry Rizzuto: drums; DeJuaine Mottley: drums, vocals; Roy Shimmyo: bass, vocals; Kendra Wheeler: vocals.

Record Label: Self Produced

Style: Funk/Groove


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