Of all the '90s purveyors of the Sanborn based alto sound, Everette Harp may just be the most inventive, taking stylistic liberties beyond even sure fire peers Warren Hill and Dave Koz. While all the hooky rhythm and jazz cuts on Common Ground are straight out of the slick and superb school of expensively produced magnificence, it's Harp's intense gale force breath that places the wailing emergency calls on even the typical romantic fare. In short, he puffs hard and heavy, exploding into mind reeling improvs just when you least expect. The charisma alone would make the lengthy disc rise above its crowded list of R&B competitors. But its real charms come when Harp departs from the commercial safety net and blows a late night traditional tenor, a wistful and mournful soprano, and finally a lighthearted artsy EWI. His vocals are somewhat superfluous, but are more than balanced by flashy guest performances by Sheila E., executive producer George Duke, and the wayward bass of Marcus Miller. Harp saves his most remarkable feat for the let your hair down, hip-hop title cut, a snappy syncopated dialogue with soul mate Branford Marsalis.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran