Saskia Laroo

Jazz Dance

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Dutch trumpeter Saskia Laroo plays dance/rap/funk music on this CD. She's not a bad player at all -- very (latter period) Miles Davis, R&B-influenced, and her solos show a definite improvisational inclination. The music hits several different groove tempos to varying effect, but for the most part, it is derivative and clich├ęd. It's not all dismal, just misguided, and not that original. The better moments occur when partner/keyboardist Rob Gaasterland gets into some urban landscape overdubbing, as on the spacy intro to "Poocee," or the world funk workout "Drop That Horn." A more interesting, celestial funk crops up on "Sunday Afternoon," featuring Laroo's best solo. A darker funk on "Hipfunk D" stops dead with a completely out of place alto sax solo by Benjamin Herman. Guest tenor saxophonist Hans Dulfer hits stride much better over the ostinato bassline on "If Ye Got It, Ye Got It," and rapper Kool Ace gets down over all the rest for the ultra-funk "If Ye Feel It & Ya With It," with Laroo's trumpet echoing in the background. The "Watermelon Man" and "Ya Know How We Do It" illustrate that these are Us3-wannabes in tow with Laroo. While saying rap is like jazz in its improvisation, with layered vocal counterpoint (as in "It's Like Jazz"), "Jazzparty" refutes that notion with goof Johnny Kelvin's phony, insulting, cloying lines. Clearly, Laroo is having fun with this like Candy Dulfer does, but this music is not her strong suit; in fact, it waters down her talent.

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