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Dan Reynolds' third release of keyboard-driven contemporary jazz is a pleasant, engaging program of original material (all compositions are by Reynolds, except "One Night in a Storm" by guitarist Vinny Valentino). The format and instrumentation are similar to most other contemporary jazz combos, and there's really not much that's new and different here. But this is, nevertheless, an enjoyable and thoroughly competent outing. One standout tune here is the lone vocal track, "With My Friends," with the lyrics composed and sung by Dawn Robinson. In addition to an engaging melody and excellent delivery, I like the fact that the lyrics cover a topic other than falling in or out of love; in this case, the lyrics extoll the value of time spent with friends as an antidote for often-frustrating office work. The tune also benefits from a good pan-flute-sounding synth solo from Reynolds and tenor sax solo from Brian Lanier. Another gem is the percussion-tinged "Boogoo in Brazil;" the percussion is actually programmed but sounds quite life-like. (Never Alone Music NAM-403)
Tracks: From the Top, The Answer, Delafield Place, To Be Sure, With My Friends, Deep Freeze, Boogoo in Brazil, One Night in a Storm, Dark Horse, Three Steps (51:30)
Dan Reynolds (all pianos and keyboards, drum/percussion programming); Mike Scott, Wayne Bruce, Vinny Valentino, Barney Charlton (guitars); Gary Grainger, David Dyson (bass); Peter Fraize, Brian Lanier, Al Williams, Marshall Keys (saxophone); Francis Thompson, Greg Grainger(drums); Alejandro Lucini (percussion); Dawn Robinson (vocals).
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.