I’m a reporter for The Daily News in McKeesport. Luckily for me, I get to review the occasional jazz CD. Generally, our album reviews appear in the Thursday and Saturday papers. CDs can get up to 5 stars.
PIECES OF A DREAM “Soul Intent” (Heads Up International) 2.5 stars — As I listen to the new Pieces of Dream album, I find myself wanting to sing along and I would, if I knew the lyrics; would, that is, if there were lyrics.
None can be heard on this instrumental CD but the melodic hooks on tracks like “Vision Accomplished” and “APB” are so strong they make me want to break in to song.
Man, they would be the perfect back-up band for Chaka Khan.
But this CD has problems.
Those memorable riffs that beg for words get a little monotonous the further one delves into the disc. By the time I reach the title track half-way through, I’ve about had it with the amnesia-proof hooks, to say nothing of the in-the-pocket drumming and one-size-fits-all song structures.
In short, this is a smooth jazz album and it all sounds like it’s been run through some kind of processor.
Despite this Velveeta-fying influence, the band, which formed in Philly more than 30 years ago, can get a groove on. Listen to “D Fuse the Situation” — probably the best cut on the CD — and you’ll get a whiff of what could be if they’d lay off the smooth cheese. (Eric Slagle)
This review originally appeared in The Daily News on Feb. 28, 2009.