Maximum Grooves

Coast to Coast

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    4
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AllMusic Review by

Although it's filled with good intentions and a bevy of diverse guests from Herb Alpert to guitarist Derek Trucks, producer/composer/keyboardist Jason Miles' Maximum Grooves vehicle stays stuck in neutral. Apparently inspired by the slick N.Y.C. jazz of keyboardist Don Grolnick, Miles invites a gaggle of smooth jazz crossover stars to replicate the sound that initially stirred him in the late '70s/early '80s. While none of this all-instrumental album is unlistenable, the overall sound is soulless in its anonymous and nondescript jazz fusion. Miles' dependence on loops and synthesizers robs a sense of dynamics from the sound. Even when the soloists try to push outside the boundaries, they are gobbled up by the slick, dull production. Occasionally a funky groove like "Karma Kanic" (get it?) threatens to move the proceedings into more lively territory, but even on that track, the usually identifiable sax of Spyro Gyra's Jay Beckenstein and the crisp attack of drummer Steve Ferrone don't elevate the pedestrian mood. Destined to be background music to elegant dinners for two and subsequent romantic overtures, Coast to Coast never takes off. It also wastes an impressive lineup of talented yet ultimately faceless musicians. Not quite elevator music but dangerously close, maximum snooze is more like it.

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