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Just Doin' Our Thang brings me back to the late '60s and early '70s when jazz personalities like Ramsey Lewis, Herbie Mann, and Sergio Mendes were using contemporary pop material and selling records. Jazz music was losing momentum with the competition from the rock revolution and it was not unusual to hear any of the artists on Blue Note, Prestige, and other jazz labels playing Beatles tunes.
Flutist Bradley Leighton, from the Pacific Northwest, perhaps has the same idea in mind for his second album. I like the idea of combining his alto flute with an organ trio plus percussion, and the end product is a perfect summertime album. The twelve selections are not entirely pop music covers, but the vibe is upbeat and satisfying. Several of these tunes should be candidates for airplay on smooth jazz radio, including some of the Leighton originals.
35 years ago, everyone was required to sing or play Bobby Hebb's "Sunny," so it now seems like a good way to open this album. The flute provides a perfect counterpoint to the organ funk feel. Likewise, the ubiquitous "Breezin'," which George Benson parlayed into a pop jazz staple during the '80s, is again given a new life by Bob Boss, who delivers some good guitar licks. (Why am I fighting to say "Boss Guitar" here?) For the purists, Leighton and company dig into "Now's The Time," "Speak Low," and "Summertime."
Track Listing: Sunny, Now's The Time, Pink Panther Theme, Summertime, Breezin', Carefree, Europa, Lazy Summer Days, Ain't No Sunshine, Deep Sea, Easy Morning, Speak Low.
Personnel: Bradley Leighton, alto flute; Rob Whitlock, Hammond B3 organ; Duncan Moore,drums; Bob Boss, guitar; Allan Phillips, percussion and keyboard