Jeremy Wall

Cool Running

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Jeremy Wall is best known for his years with Spyro Gyra, which grew increasingly formulaic and predictable as the 1980s progressed but was still exciting back when the pianist/keyboardist contributed such memorable tunes as "Shakedown" and "Mallet Ballet." Some might have feared that Cool Runnings would be full of boring elevator jazz, but the CD is actually fairly decent. Though not mind-blowing, light and atmospheric pop-jazz offerings like "Ancient Words," "Key West Strut" and the Latin-flavored "Into the Sunset" aren't nearly as contrived as most of the studio recordings Spyro was coming out with at the time. Wall's writing clearly reflects his years with that band, although Joe Sample's influence is also prominent. The player could have done without the pointless background vocalists he sometimes employs (none of whom add anything to the material), and he does tend to overproduce and overarrange. Nonetheless, Cool Runnings indicates that from a creative standpoint (as opposed to a commercial or monetary one), Wall's departure from Spyro was probably a good thing.

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