Laid Back is a perfect example of a project that had the potential for greatness but is quite disappointing. Doc Powell's guests on this date include, among others, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Gerald Albright, Patrice Rushen, Bobby Lyle, Sheila E and Kirk Whalum -- an impressive team, to be sure, but one whose talents are largely wasted on the overproduced and the mundane. It would have been great if Powell had favored a minimum of production and given his guests a chance to really stretch out and blow, but instead, the George Benson-influenced guitarist smothers this pop/urban contemporary/jazz material by overproducing and seldom giving the players a chance to let loose. Powell goes out of his way to be uncreative, which is truly appalling when musicians as talented as Clarke and Miller are on board. Obviously, he wanted to make sure that groove-oriented tunes like "Sunrise" and "Sunday Mornin'" were friendly to NAC radio, and that meant avoiding improvisation and being as formulaic as possible. It also meant delivering an album that is weak, heartless, insincere and boring.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson