Pieces of a Dream celebrates their 25th anniversary with this debut for Heads Up International, Acquainted With the Night. The Philadelphia-based band offers 12 new tracks written by co-founders James Lloyd and Curtis Harmon along with several other songwriters, including saxophonist Gerald Albright and Michael Bearden. The British acid jazz guitarist Ronny Jordan, vocalist Maysa Leak, and saxophonist Kenny Blake round out the list of stellar guest stars. Opening with "Ru Ready," the group launches into a series of musical portraits that seem to suggest a little philosophical parable heaped from their 25 years of experience. "Night Vision" captures the theme of the CD, with its riffs that suggest the ambience of twinkling stars in a night sky. These phrases are effectively portrayed through Lloyd's piano sensibilities and light flourishes. For those that remain unable to liberate themselves from the quiet beauty of smooth jazz, this CD creates a musical experience that not only chronicles the expertise of Pieces of a Dream, but affords their listeners a prominent escape from the ordinary "quiet storm" incubators that pervade the airwaves. This is by far their best release since Joyride and a huge jump in musical credibility due to their extensive inclusion of notable songwriters and guest artists that manage to sharpen the artistic visions on this project.
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AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein