Cabo Frio

Island Dance

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

It's going to be a challenge for this newly reunited group -- which started making smooth jazz-type records in 1982 before the format formally existed -- to get back on the charts, but their funky and grooving R&B-influenced music is certainly festive and friendly enough. Although the cover art and album title promise loads of fun in the sun, the playful steel pan-driven energy doesn't get rolling till track six, when "High Tide" explodes in a forest of percussion and chanting. Ironically, the sax-driven title track, while upbeat and catchy, lacks any of that distinctive tropical flavor. Yet that song typifies the middle-of-the-road charms of the collection. Most of the very catchy tunes are sax-centered, though there are other saxmen besides regular group member Chris Vadala on various cuts. Skip Pruitt, the best of the rest, creates an irresistible lyrical magic from the get-go on the first single, "You Don't Know." On tracks where sax isn't featured, drummer and keyboardist Curtis Kendrick's lush piano is the prominent force. Despite the likability, Cabo Frio will have to work extra hard on promotion to get back to the type of popularity they enjoyed in the '80s, when the genre had much less competition. A few of these tracks, pushed aggressively, should work wonders toward this end.

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