Twennynine with Lenny White

Just Like Dreamin'

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    5
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This talented group was seen as more of a dance act then the multifaceted, bright pop/R&B/jazz unit it truly was. For this effort, Twennynine added three new members, but the group's intricate balance and chemistry was affected. Rhythm guitarist Steve Horton was added, as well as two vocalists, including Carla Vaughan and the appealing Tanya Willoghby. Also by this point, commercial considerations were looming, so Just Like Dreaming takes few risks and yields a meager payoff. That's not to say this is all bad -- it's not. The potent "Twennynine (The Rap)," an early instance of rap being incorporated into R&B, gives all of the players solo space, especially Horton, who does a great Nile Rodgers-style locking groove on it. "Movin On" itself is reminiscent of '80s-era Chic and has nice interplay from bassist Barry "Sonjohn" Johnson and drummer White. Despite the deft mix of styles, the best of Just Like Dreamin' sticks close to what made Twennynine Featuring Lenny White work. The title track is an effervescent, quirky ballad that sounds like it leapt from the album that came before it. The jaunty "Need You" sounds like bright L.A. pop, well executed and no doubt hated by jazz purists. Nearing the end of this, Just Like Dreamin' seems to be too polished and mainstreamed for its own good. "All Over Again" and "Find a Love," while skilled, sound no different from what other like-minded players where doing at the time. Despite its high points, Just Like Dreamin' wastes the enviable talents of those involved.

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