Sam Riney

Lay It on the Line

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Sam Riney is a perfect example of a reedman who has shunned creativity in order to sell more albums and enjoy more commercial radio acceptance. For the most part, the mixture of pop, R&B, and jazz that Riney offers on Lay It on the Line is as uncreative as it is boring. Innocuous tunes like "Black Coffee" (not to be confused with the standard), "Starting Things Over," "Tiger Street," and "It's on the Way" sound like the work of a poor man's David Sanborn, and the ballad "Goodbye" is bloodless enough to be played in a dentist's office. "Night Passage" is especially frustrating -- it has an appealing, dusky theme, but just when Riney really gets going on the soprano sax, the song fades out. Only on the haunting "Constellation Ride" does the saxman/flutist let loose and put his creativity to work. Other than that, this CD is a throwaway.

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