Candy Dulfer

Candy Store

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True to the cute, winking title of her Heads Up debut, the glamorous and funky Dutch sax superstar offers a tasty little bagful of everything to please the funky, smooth, and exotic taste buds of jazz and R&B fans around the world. There's feisty, blistering jamming with multiple horn textures and jangling guitars (the sizzling opening track "Candy"), easy grooving, melodic old-school soul ("L.A. Citylights"), raw and thumping, brassy party singalongs ("Music = Love," the buoyant and breezy "Summertime"), and even a scorching Latin/Caribbean island dance-along ("La Cabana") and a jaunt to Jamaica (the jumpy, lilting "Smokin' Gun"). Dulfer's always had a little of that classic David Sanborn touch in her sound, and that inspiration shines through on the low-key, late-night vibing of "11:58," one of a few rich ballads here. The dreamy '70s jazz-soul trip "Soulsax" draws the listener back, ever so subtly, to the Earth, Wind & Fire style of balladeering. All of these add up to a truly inspired and energized date that gloriously brings Dulfer back to the hard hitting, emotionally compelling magic she achieved on her second album, 1993's Sax-A-Go-Go. She'd been a consistent hitmaker since then, but was never quite as freewheeling and playful as she was in the early days. In the intervening years, Dulfer developed from a strong natural pop player into a true jazz stylist and improviser, and the maturity shines through even as the party continues. Best of all, she thankfully pulls 180 degrees away from the over the top electronic production of 2003's Right in My Soul, a disc that, although meaning well, covered her rich R&B and jazz heart with too much machinery. While Dulfer collaborates with longtime partners Thomas Bank and Ulco Bed, keyboardist, bassist, and vocalist Chance Howard -- a longtime member of Prince's band -- adds an extra charge to the mix with the same bounce and fire that he added to her live performances in the early 2000s. Candy Store was easily one of contemporary jazz's finest and funkiest releases of 2007.

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