175

Richard Elliot: Crush

By

Sign in to view read count
After a decade-long string of commercially successful albums on Blue Note, smooth sax titan Richard Elliot has jumped to GRP and released his label debut, Crush. Aside from the label, not much has changed. Elliot and his composing/programming/production partners Steven Dubin, Jeff Lorber, Tim Heintz, and Paul Brown still have their collective thumb solidly on the pulse of today’s smooth jazz format. This album should do very well on the airwaves and on the charts.

But this is manufactured music. It’s studio polished and perfected, but lifeless. On his previous outings, Elliot has distinguished himself from the crowded field of saxophonists with his spirited, muscular sound - instantly recognizable with his right-on pitch, perfectly controlled vibrato, and soul-drenched emotiveness. But even Elliot seems bored and listless; he noodles around on each song’s framework without the total commitment to the musical moment that we’re used to hearing. His sound has lost its punch and seems bland.

The recipe has been followed to the letter. There are guest shots from Jonathan Butler and Sue Ann Carwell (for the two token vocal entries), Greg Phillinganes, and Paul Jackson, Jr., and Jeff Lorber. The familiar horns of Jerry Hey, Gary Grant, Larry Williams, and Bill Reichenbach are called upon to punch up a few tunes, and Lenny Castro peppers it with percussion throughout, but for these guys, it’s just another day in the studio.

Nothing of real interest pops up until the last two songs. “Shotgun,” with guitarist Jeff Golub and drummer Ricky Lawson, and “Sticky Wicked,” with a totally different cast, finally provide the excitement, soulfulness, and toe-tapping R&B groove needed to engage the listener. Elliot responds to the energy and turns in the kind of perky, gutsy performance we’re used to hearing. But it may be too little, too late to save the entire disc. (GRP 314 549 774)


Title: Crush | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Triloka Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Jim Crow's Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Jim Crow's Tears
by James Nadal
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "Shifting Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Shifting Borders
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "Trandans" CD/LP/Track Review Trandans
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2017
Read "All Through the Night" CD/LP/Track Review All Through the Night
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: June 17, 2017
Read "Air and Light and Time and Space" CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read "On Parade In Parede" CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.