Connye Florance

Connye Florance

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For her second release in association with legendary rock/R&B performer/composer Leon Russell and Kevin Madill, Connye Florance this time around has stuck with her own compositions or those written by Russell rather than inserting some standards as she did on her initial album. With its crossover leitmotif, this album is designed to attract a wider audience with its pop-inflected rhythms. The play list includes Russell's "This Masquerade," which appeared on the jazz, R&B, and pop charts of Billboard magazine simultaneously. This is a lovely tune that Florance sings in an appropriately soulful manner backed by Mark Douthit's saxophone and a melange of sounds created by the electronic wizardry of Madill's synthesizer. Enticing as some of the music is, it's difficult to discriminate one song from another. Too many of them are done with similar tempo and instrumental and vocal backing. Most have that organ-like undercurrent with occasional visits from Douthit on sax or Roger "Rock" Williams also on sax and on flute as well. Even on the faster-than-syrup-dripping-from-a-maple-tree tempos, such as the R&B-tinged "Back in Your Arms," matters never get very elevated. In sum, it is very hard to distinguish these tunes from hundreds of others that have been put to CD. Heavy on the keyboards, backup vocals, and the constant percussive backbeat all make for an inconsistent outing. Florance is a very fine singer. It's shame she is not given more challenging material to work with. The shallow prettiness of the music wears off rather quickly.

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