Richard Bone


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There was a time when "jazz" had some specific meaning as a musical term. If someone handed you an album and said, "Here, play this; it's jazz, " you'd have a fairly specific expectation of it as far as instrumentation, mood, and approach are concerned, and more often than not, that expectation would be borne out. That reality has shifted substantially during the '90s. Like "rock," the term "jazz" has become very vague; at the end of the century that invented it, the term seems to mean nothing more specific than "instrumental." That may or may not be a bad thing. But one things is certain: the phrase "jazz, man, jazz" on the back of this CD package is not terribly informative. The album opens with "Garden," a mostly arrhythmic, rather meditative synth-and-sampler piece, and stays more or less in that same vein for the remainder of the program; "Playa Six" includes a sampled string bass, as does "Outside the Incrimination Field," but that's about all the "jazziness" there is in either case. "Amorita Dive," on the other hand, actually has a swing feel and sampled vibes woven into the synthetic fabric of the piece. In general, this music is skillful and very pleasant, but it doesn't ever make you sit up and pay attention. That may be what ultimately separates it from the genre to which it apparently aspires.

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