Joe Locke revisits his Henry Mancini project recording Moment to Moment on this expanded edition, taking some of the songs from that concept album while adding on other show tunes, movie themes, and originals. Retaining longtime bandmate, pianist Geoff Keezer, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Clarence Penn, top-notch vibraphonist Locke taps on his softer side for this effort, featuring vocalist (not the drummer) Kenny Washington to the proceedings. If you are familiar with drummer Jimmy Cobb and Bill Cosby's project So That Nobody Else Can Hear, you'll realize a deep connection, and a parallel of Washington's vocal acumen with that of the late Gregory Hines, known more as a dancer/actor, but also at one point a competent and pleasing jazz singer. Washington holds the same neat and clean, lilting quality Hines possessed, while Locke and Keezer continue to express melodic tandem melodies of shimmering proportions. This is the demure side of jazz, whether on the tender ballads "Two for the Road"; Locke's tribute to the late saxophonist Bob Berg "Verrazano Moon"; or "Pure Imagination" away from its children's song image in 6/8 time, all sung serenely by Washington. On the pop end there's the Isley Brothers familiar "For the Love of You," or Neil Young's "Birds," but it is on "The Shadow of Your Smile" where the arrangement is the star, implying half-speed held tension as drummer Penn stews and bubbles the rhythmic underpinning. "Old Devil Moon" also gives Washington a different format, a hopped-up bop number where his voice interacts more with the other players. There are three instrumentals attuned to the Locke-Keezer unique brand of harmonic convergence, especially rendered on "I Miss New York" in a trampoline-bouncy motion, the tick-tock, appropriately titled "Bright Side Up," or "Cinema Paradiso" with surreal bowed bass from the masterful Mraz, a film noir sketch of suggestive romanticism, and one killer piano solo by Keezer. There's nothing groundbreaking or mind bending here, just solid musicianship expressed in hushed tones by musicians who fully understand the art of subtlety, and recommended to those who appreciate the cooler end of mainstream jazz.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos