Art Porter

Lay Your Hands on Me

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    5
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The late saxman's final studio recording is smoother than should be legal, switching between alto and soprano and featuring all the right ingredients (killer production, nice melodies), but cooking only in certain spots. Most notable of these are the title track (too good to save for the end), which finds the Chicago native mastering jazz improv over loose, haywire industrial machinery, and the hypnotic sax melody, sax harmony textures, and bouncing groove of "DB Blue." Elsewhere, though, are those oh-so-agreeable romances and pretty but too polite vocal ballads that take the spotlight away from Art Porter in favor of Lalah Hathaway and Brian McKnight. Porter is a stylish, skilled player, but on Lay Your Hands on Me he too often calculates rather than just letting the mood take him where he should be going. Still, this is part of a valuable legacy from a saxman who departed way too soon.

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