Al Jarreau

Heart's Horizon

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Moving over to Warner's sister label Reprise did little to inspire an artistically comparable follow-up to Jarreau's successful collaboration with Nile Rodgers two years before. Now Jarreau splits the production reins between the resurrected Jay Graydon, George Duke and Philippe Saisse, and enlists occasional guests like Earl Klugh, David Sanborn, Stanley Clarke, Kirk Whalum and Bobby McFerrin to help out. "Yo' Jeans," a brief, humorous, a cappella vocalese duet with McFerrin, was a long-overdue idea -- one rubbery-voiced nonclassifiable vocalist communing with another -- and in its goofy way, it temporarily re-energizes the record after a successful of listless frontloaded dance numbers and ballads. Jarreau also tries an interesting experiment with Saisse, running his voice and percussion through Akai and Emulator samplers on his own "10K Hi," though the results are a bit muddled. Mostly, the problem here is that of so-so material, which even this multiplicity of talent cannot overcome.

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