Hollis Gentry

Hollis Gentry's Neon

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San Diego's best kept contemporary jazz secret is out, and the hope was that upon this release, all sax lovers across America would know him. While Gentry's greatest success came as an on again, off again member of Fattburger, Neon (also the name of Gentry's own band) is exquisite accessibility, one of the most likable debut efforts of early smooth jazzdom. These eight tunes are impossible to find fault with. All have crossover appeal written on them, all are catchy and hummable, and all are expertly produced. For the romantics, Gentry offers the lovely ballad "Magic Eyes" (written by guitarist Kiko Cibrian, who gets a hot solo) and "Song for Symon"; uptempo pop fans are given "Our Love," "Jacoby Creek," and the best cut, the hooky "Just Another Pretty Face." And then there's the richness of Gentry's horn gracing the moody "The Truth." In other words, there's something for everyone, and it's altogether enjoyable. Gentry knew what he was after here -- MOR contemporary success -- and he should have gotten more exposure than he did. While the material is strong, it's Gentry's sound that makes Neon a remarkable first outing.