Amy Dickson

Dusk & Dawn

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In its classic mixture of classical favorites and popular songs, and in its unrelenting romantic mood as well, this release by Amy Dickson is entirely typical of major-label efforts to reach Britain's large crossover market. Its lead instrument, however, is not so typical: the saxophone, although one of pop's premier instruments, is a rare find in the concert sphere. Dickson does not really attempt to exploit this tension; her classical works are all arrangements, and her pop songs, until the very lightly jazzified reading of Harry Warren's I Only Have Eyes for You (track 11), don't make use of the saxophone's jazz capabilities. Even Smoke Gets in Your Eyes is played pretty much straight. Instead, you get an unbroken series of slow tunes that, to quote the booklet's sparse text (it's mostly given over the gauzy shots of Dickson), offer "the sound of sensuality, elegance and romance." Some of them are unconventional enough to be engaging; it's undeniably fun to hear Bellini's "Casta diva" played on a saxophone. Others, notably Tom Waits' In the Neighborhood, gain nothing from being played this way. Three works on the album are famous film themes, which split the difference between the classical and pop realms and are probably the most effective works on the disc. Producer James McMillan and his minions contribute reliably lush arrangements. In general this release will appeal to crossover lovers who have enjoyed hours of consuming codes of pure romance and want more of the same; others may find it less interesting.

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