The 3 Sounds / Oliver Nelson

Coldwater Flat

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Live at the Lighthouse captured the Three Sounds at their jazziest, but Coldwater Flat, the first studio session pianist Gene Harris and bassist Andrew Simpkins recorded with new drummer Donald Bailey, takes a different path. For this date, the group decided to emphasize its pop side, recording the record with the lush Oliver Nelson Orchestra and choosing to cover such pop hits as "The Look of Love" and "Last Train to Clarksville." The closing number, "Star Trek," is actually an original by Harris, unrelated to the TV show. One of the primary attractions of the Three Sounds' sound was its simplicity and their ability to find so much variation within the trio format. That magic is somewhat lost with the orchestra, which tends to overwhelm the trio. More than anything, that is what prevents Coldwater Flat from ranking among the group's finest efforts, but the glossy production has its appealing moments as well, and the record does function well as pleasant background music, even if it veers too close to easy listening to be true jazz.

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