Dean James

Can We Talk

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Dean James isn't exactly a rebel with his saxophones, but his playing shows more energy and spirit-just like iconic reverse namesake - on Intimacy than it did on his 1995 debut Can We Talk, which ran the gamut stylistically without finding a distinctive voice apart from the smooth jazz sax pack. His emotions on alto and soprano were never in question, but now James has a strong trademark that helps him stand out in a crowded pack - horn doubling and tripling. Saxmen on a budget should take inspiration from the rich horn section harmony effect he achieves on the chorus of the opening track "Market Street," the attractive cover of Faith Evans' "Soon As I Get Home" and the hip-hop flavored "Nightcruise." James has other sides, too. He soars along with Jerry Peters' film score like synth orchestra arrangement on "Finally Forever," and on the Brazilian piece "Sambaforre," floats his horn above a Paulinho Da Costa-created deep jungle soundscape that would make the Rippingtons' Steve Reid envious.

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