Rastine

Afrodisiac

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    3
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With his erratic and overproduced debut album, Afrodisiac, saxophonist Rastine put most of his energy into appealing to the George Howard/Najee crowd but showed some awareness of acoustic post-bop a la John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders. Although pretty weak overall, the CD does have its moments, including the optimistic "Kuma," an R&B-ish take on Miles Davis' "Milestones" (the late-'50s modal classic, not the song he did with Charlie Parker in 1947) and a catchy rap interpretation of Coltrane's "A Love Supreme." What brings Afrodisiac down is its abundance of pointless, unimaginative pop covers. Instead of bringing anything unique or personal to Steely Dan's "Peg," Sade's "Nothing Can Come Between Us" or the Bob Marley classics "Natural Mystic" and "So Much Trouble," Rastine avoids improvisation and pretty much plays the tunes note for note in a Muzak-like fashion. The saxman has a fairly likable sound on tenor, alto and soprano -- sort of Coltrane and Sanders by way of Grover Washington, Jr. -- but sadly, he usually wastes it on the boring and the forgettable.

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