Althea Rene

In the Moment

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Soulful, smooth jazz-pop from flutist Althea Rene, In the Moment mostly consists of the kind of mid-tempo instrumental grooves that are the bread and butter of smooth jazz, but the few songs with vocals (by Kymberli Wright, occasionally supported by Rene) are in more of an easy listening R&B mode. Covers of Candy Dulfer's "I Can" and Beyoncé's "Me Myself and I" give an approximate idea of the album's stylistic parameters, but it's when In the Moment leans more toward the mellow instrumental groove that Rene truly finds her artistic voice. Pop songs are a long and respected element of the soul-jazz and smooth jazz traditions (Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers' "Just the Two of Us" remains the pinnacle of the style), but Althea Rene simply doesn't do them particularly well, whereas groove-oriented tunes like "Campari Juice" are a breezy delight.

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