Dan Siegel

Clairvoyance

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AllMusic Review by

After expanding his reach into the worldbeat realm with 1995's brilliant Hemispheres, Dan Siegel returns to his usual comfort zone of spry piano melodies and easy grooves on Clairvoyance. A veteran who always finds ways to stay fresh creatively yet true to the sound that made him a core artist, he challenges himself this time as a producer, carrying those catchy hooks over a variety of rhythmic beds. It's not often that store-bought sounds merit praise, but Siegel effectively builds upon loops and John Patitucci bass samples (courtesy of Spectrasonics) to create unique contrasts of dark and light on tunes like "Fortune Teller" and "Heart of Hearts"; the light comes from Siegel's playful piano touch, which floats over a synth organ sound combined with the samples and Allen Hinds' brooding electric guitar. Ironically, Siegel takes the same approach on tunes with world-class bassists Brian Bromberg, Smitty Smith, and Larry Kimpel, so one wonders if the creativity was borne out of economic necessity. Like the genre itself these days, Siegel takes a mostly urban slant, and a sugary tune like "Starry Night" (featuring Boney James) sounds like one of his great late-'80s tunes with a stronger backbeat. The closing number, "88," is a haunting film score meditation that conveys a deeper artistry than his usual fare, but keeping it under two minutes makes it look like Siegel is trying to hide the full range of his gifts.

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