In the 1990s, the easiest way to enjoy airplay on NAC/smooth jazz stations was to be as bland, predictable, and mindless as possible -- and sadly, a lot of instrumentalists were quite willing to record nothing but dreck if it meant enjoying more airplay and selling more albums. Bob Mamet, however, wasn't one of them. For the most part, the pianist's second album, Day Into Night, is neither straight-ahead jazz nor mindless fluff. A few of the tracks are lightweight background music, but only a few. "Greenstreet" and "Morningside," for example, are the sort of innocuous tunes that you would expect to hear playing in the background at your local shopping mall. But most of the time, Mamet is more creative than that. If you like pop-jazz that is accessible yet creative, you can't go wrong with the Brazilian-flavored "Calabay," the Chick Corea-ish "Jazzhouse," or the gospel-minded title track. The clever "Woodpecker," in fact, has a Thelonious Monk influence, and is arguably the most straight-ahead thing on the album. At his best, Mamet doesn't shy away from improvisation -- he digs in, stretches out, and doesn't quit soloing until he has said what needs to be said. Although not quite as consistent as Mamet's first album, Signs of Life, this 1995 release has more plusses than minuses and was a generally respectable (if mildly uneven) addition to his catalog.
Day into Night Review
by Alex Henderson