Midnight Jazz Band

Jazz Past Midnight: Love Songs

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This set (performed by Gary Foster on alto, clarinet and flute, pianist Tom Ranier, bassist Chuck Berghofer, drummer Peter Erskine and percussionist Alan Estes) is meant to reach a wider audience than the usual jazz fans. Tom Ranier's synthesizer often makes the music sound as if it includes a string section, all of the dozen vintage melodies are familiar, some of the harmonies and chords have been smoothed out, most of the songs are given long theme statements and, although some of the selections are taken at a medium-tempo, there are quite a few slow ballads. From the jazz standpoint, there is some fine playing (particularly by Foster) but no real surprises, explosions or sparks. The main description that fits the set as a whole is "nice," so its value depends on whether the potential purchaser will be satisfied enough with some superior background music.

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