Alto Reed

Cool Breeze

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In his long tenure with Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band, rock & roll saxman Alto Reed has performed solos from hot air balloons and scaled towering stacks of PA speakers strapped in a Peter Pan-like harness with piano wires. He could have used more of this adventurous spirit on his close to the vest, smooth jazz debut Cool Breeze. Ironically, except for one tune, Reed belies his name by playing a rich, robust low-toned tenor throughout -- but mostly in the service of laid-back pleasantries which offer little room to kick up dust. Reed eventually jolts the mood by hitting the Detroit rock and soul groove on "It's Time to Stop Shoppin Around," an aggressive reworking of Smokey Robinson's first hit. Reed textures a hi-tone tenor melody with the low harmony tones of Bob Funk's trombone, punching up the chorus with the funk-drenched strut of the Uptown Horns. The tune is the ultimate R&B/jazz-rock party, from Reed's own squealing improvisations and Bill Payne's lively piano solo to Donnie Lyle's bubbling guitar.

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