Gordon James

Candlelight Love

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The whole mentality of including less than stellar vocals on instrumental projects all but devastates any potential Gordon James' Candlelight Love has for being a solid contemporary jaunt. On the precious few tracks where the flugelhorn/trumpeter flies without the intrusive net, he stirs up some highly amiable, cool craziness. Though his timbre and blowing style possesses no tricks we haven't heard done slightly better elsewhere, James writes straightforwardly and knows how to whip his band into exotic colors, as on the bouncy Latin-tinged "Just Can't Keep Still." So what does he think he's accomplishing with all those half-lead, half backing pseudo-soul female vocals which show no distinctive qualities whatsoever? In between verses, James gets off some admirable interludes, but soon the blind commercialism takes over to numbing effect. The contrast is frustrating throughout, but at least James chose to have his horn dominate Mariah Carey's "Dreamlover." Small saving grace on what could have been a great effort.