Bob Mamet

Adventures in Jazz

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David Benoit must have enjoyed the recollection of his early days offered him by co-producing Bob Mamet's simple, direct, and extremely hooky tunes on Adventures in Jazz. Benoit is a perfect partner/mentor for the up-and-coming Mamet, since Mamet specializes in the same type of angst-free "happy jazz" Benoit began his career with -- even to the point of putting Eric Marienthal's sax center stage on the choruses of sweet confections like the title track and the friendly "Conversation at 29th St.," on which Benoit's synth strings enhance Mamet's melancholy reflections. One could spend all day harping on the similarities, but, fortunately, it's a case of following in the footsteps of the best; like Benoit, Mamet is a masterful pianist and melody maker, as adept at traditional jazz as fluffy pop. If taken literally, the title Adventures in Jazz seems like a misnomer until companion tracks "Six Stories 1-3" and "Six Stories 4-6," in which Mamet swings away from the almighty hook and engages bassist Derrick Murdock and drummer Johnny Friday on a colorful acoustic trio exploration. The solo piano closer "Nightsong" is as pure and direct as anything new age sensation Jim Brickman has ever produced. Sure, Mamet takes cues from other, more renowned pianists, but irresistibly so, creating one of the most enjoyable contemporary outings of 1997.

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