How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Cleveland-based Peggy and Bob Morris and their band Morris Code (clever, huh?) have cracked the code for a successful and enjoyable contemporary jazz recording. They have absorbed the influences of the better contempo ensembles of the seventies and eighties and formulated their own delicious recipe. There's lots of variety throughout the program, and one of the biggest keys to success here is the good compositions, all by the Morrises, with help on a couple tunes from keyboardist Aaron Lindsey. The mostly bright, up-tempo program sports plenty of funky thumb-slapping bass, crisp backbeats, and colorful background percussion. A couple mellower tunes with flute and nice latin percussion provide nice contrast. Peggy Morris provides an effective lead voice, whether it's on her alternatively pensive and sassy alto sax, her multi-tracked sax choruses, flute (often using the singing-in-octaves technique a la Dave Valentin), or competent lead vocal on two songs. The influence of the 70's Tom Scott and the L.A. Express can be heard on the energetic, hard-driving exuberance of "Soul Finger" (not the old Bar-Kays hit), propelled an in-the-pocket organ solo and background and Peggy's overdubbed sax ensemble. The rhythm section is mostly live, although they experiment with synth bass on the opener "G Wiz" and programmed tracks on the vocal "Call Me." While the entire ensemble is cohesive, Aaron Lindsey is particularly interesting and versatile on keyboards (electric or acoustic piano, organ, synths, whatever the mood calls for). (Mocode MCD 7402)
Track Listing: G Wiz; Fluticious; Confusement Park; E Z Duz It; Just for You; Soul Finger; Sax on the Nile; Call Me; In Your Ear; Fly with Me; Wet Paint.
Personnel: Peggy Morris - alto, soprano, tenor, baritone saxophones, flute, lead and background vocals; Bob Morris - bass guitar, synth bass, additional keyboards; Chris Ceja - drums, additional percussion; Aaron Lindsey - keyboards, drum programming, synth bass, additional percussion; Dave Hemann, Brian Davidson - guitar; Manny Santana - percussion.