Eric Marienthal

Just Around the Corner

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When heard with Chick Corea's Elektric Band or as a sideman in more straight-ahead settings, Eric Marienthal consistently proves that he is a technically skilled and creative jazz altoist. Unfortunately, on his own recordings Marienthal is content to sound as if he is on automatic pilot, caressing insipid melodies, sticking close to the theme in a somewhat generic tone, and playing music that is clearly geared toward smooth radio and romantic backgrounds. Just Around the Corner has the altoist in the forefront throughout while backed by a purposely anonymous rhythm section. Whether showing a bit of pseudo-soulful heat or playing a ballad very straight, Marienthal sounds as if every note were planned in advance, with no room for errors, innovations, or spontaneity. The results are predictable instrumental pop performances by musicians capable of so much better.

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