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Staying with the same approach that has made his previous five albums successful, Joe McBride and his band offer a mix of groove, R & B and smooth jazz. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Most of the pieces on the play list come from McBride's compositional pen Unlike most contemporary or smooth jazz releases, some of McBride's music has some character to it. While it allows for virtually no improvisional flights of fancy, it does not lay there like a limp wash rag and should appeal to a wider audience than the self indulgent, self pitying Ally McBeal crowd. "His Name" has an R & B flavor with Wayne DeLano honking tenor recalling R & B tenor Hal Singer's work as he backed some of the top lady blues vocalists in the 1950's and 1960's such as Esther Phillips and Dolly Cooper. The music moves closer to the glitzy on "Morning in a Distant Land" and "Oi Gata", pretty but not with all that much substance and laid on top of the ubiquitous backbeat of Sean McCurley's drums. These drummers have to get bored having to play the same rhythm patterns track after track. In contrast, there's an upbeat, bouncy "Keepin' It Real" with McBride trying his hand at the acoustic piano instead of the keyboards resulting in a congenial track of music. McBride tries his hand at vocalizing on "Woke up This Morning" which has a bluesey, gospel feel to it helped along by backup vocals all on top of an assorted collection of instrumental sound. McBride and his band are a very talented unit. It would be nice if just for one album they stepped away from the smooth stuff and tried some more substantial material.
Track Listing: Woke up this Morning; Keepin' It Real; Oi Gata; Lakewood; His Name; Never Let You Go; Morning in a Distant Land; Can't Live Without You; When You Smile; Kickin' It; Gentle Rain; Woke up This Morning
Personnel: Joe McBride - Vocals/Keyboards/Piano; Wayne DeLano - Baritone, Tenor & Soprano Sax; Todd Parsnow - Electric & Acoustic Guitar; Rick Rigsby, Martin Walter - Bass; Sean McCurley - Drums
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.