Lonnie Liston Smith

Renaissance

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    5
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With a jacket adorned by mystical symbols of every faith and tribe Smith could think of, Renaissance is a pleasant paean to Peace, Love and Understanding that goes down easily and almost tracelessly. Smith doubles on acoustic piano and Rhodes electric piano, the latter often tarted up by gentle period Echoplex effects, and brother Donald Smith provides ethereal flute and occasional vocals. The Smiths are at their most ingratiating when sailing along in a semi-Brazilian groove on "Mardi Gras" and "A Song of Love" that pre-echoes a similar direction that Pat Metheny would take. Otherwise, the mildly spacy funk patterns and lightweight age of Aquarius atmosphere rise not too far above the level of hip '70s makeout music. Still, you could do a lot, lot worse in that genre.

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