Patrick Lamb

Don't Get No Better

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In the '90s and 2000s, the Bobby Caldwell effect became something of a glorious smooth jazz tradition -- from Dave Koz and Boney James to Richard Elliot and Michael Lington, it seemed like being a sideman for the singer was a sure launching pad for solo success in the genre. A sure bet to keep that streak going in 2007 was saxophonist Patrick Lamb, but rather than break out as a solo artist, he did it as part of a duo with another respected smooth jazz sideperson, percussionist and vocalist Patsy Meyer (Norman Brown, Peabo Bryson, Patti Austin). The washed-out photos of the duo and horribly bland packaging colors belie one of the year's more vibrant, in-the-pocket indie offerings in the genre. Everybody in that era was doing covers, but few were as intense, passionate, and fingersnap-worthy as the duo's explosive, brass-filled jam on "Birdland." The disc gets off to an easygoing start with the seductive and super-catchy "Hands of Passion," which grooves easily along with the support of keyboardist Gregg Karukas, guitarist Michael O'Neill, and fl├╝gelhornist Steve Madaio. Lamb bursts into heavily soulful Richard Elliot territory with his feisty blowing on "Don't Get No Better" before "Birdland" cements the duo as a true force to be reckoned with. The two ballads which follow are a study in contrasts; "Something Feels So Good" is nice but bland (and is hindered by breathy dual vocals), but "You'll Never Know" restores whatever passion was lost. The two are much more effective on the vibrant funk vocal "Give Me More Lovin'" and the voice version of "Don't Get No Better." The closer, "Cup Of Coffee," best displays Meyer's penchant for effective vocal jazz/blues. While every track is not a slam-dunk winner, what's clear is that Lamb and Meyer are embraced by the community; L.A. jazz stars like Paul Jackson, Jr., Grant Geissman, Abe Laboriel, and Ricky Lawson all contribute strongly to this promising effort.

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