Ronnie Foster

Cheshire Cat

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Cheshire Cat Review

by Jason Ankeny

Reuniting Ronnie Foster with guitarist George Benson, who also produced the previous On the Avenue, the keyboardist's final Blue Note date Cheshire Cat completes his immersion into the mainstream. Few records that fall into the soul-jazz genre balance both sides of the equation so carefully or so deftly. While Foster's original compositions boast the harmonic complexity and structural rigorousness of jazz, Benson's production is pure pop, with numbers including "Like a Child" sounding indistinguishable from the commercial soul fare making radio play lists during the mid-'70s. (A convincing cover of Stevie Wonder's "Tuesday Heartbreak" further blurs the genre lines.) Expanding upon ideas first explored via On the Avenue, Foster again steps behind the microphone to handle vocal chores on several tracks, proving a fine if unspectacular singer. He remains most persuasive as a composer and instrumentalist, however, articulating the infectiousness and gradations of his music with clarity and aplomb.

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