Mike Catalano

A Manhattan Affair

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A follow-up of sorts to his 1989 debut A Rio Affair, A Manhattan Affair features pianist/composer Mike Catalano performing his crisp and breezy smooth jazz that touches on melodic rock, lightly funky R&B and bossa nova. Joining Catalano here are not only his superb rhythm section of bassist Will Lee and drummer Peter Erskine, but also a bevy of name artists and longtime Catalano associates including guitarist Chuck Loeb, trumpeter Randy Brecker, keyboardist Bob James, bassist Nico Assumpção and others. Fans of organic '70s fusion and contemporary pop should find much to enjoy here as Catalano delivers a sparkling afterglow version of "Beauty and the Beast," turns the Beatles' "Fool on the Hill" into a perfect soft rock noir ballad and showcases vocalist Ivan Lins' deeply emotive vocals on the atmospheric Brazilian classic "Dindi." Similarly engaging are such catchy Catalano originals as the cinematic and danceable "Take Me Back to Rio," the smoky ballad "Lelena," the driving Weather Report-esque "Moonlight in Baja" and the moodily funky lead-off single "Smooth as Silk." These are refreshing, often lushly arranged and endlessly melodic cuts that make the most of Catalano's tasteful keyboard chops.

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