Rob Silvan & Fine Line

Leap of Faith

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If you ask guitarist/producer John Anello, Jr. what his Cexton label is all about, the Southern California resident (originally from Newark, NJ) will tell you that Cexton is primarily a straight-ahead jazz outfit. There are exceptions to that rule, however. Even though acoustic hard bop and post-bop have been Cexton's main focus, the company has also put out some electric fusion and pop-jazz. One of Cexton's more commercial releases was Leap of Faith, a 1987 session by keyboardist/pianist Rob Silvan and his band Fine Line. Commercial, of course, doesn't mean that something is without merit, and Leap of Faith is a pleasant album of pop-jazz and quiet storm even though it isn't recommended to jazz purists. Only a few of the tracks are instrumentals, including the somewhat David Sanborn-ish "The Very Very Truth" (which features saxman Chris Coulter). Most of the time, Silvan employs various Los Angeles-based singers -- Jody Sandhaus is prominently featured -- and a quiet storm approach prevails on laid-back tunes like "Because You Believe," "As Long As Someone's There," "Glass Flower," and the gently funky "This Day." Meanwhile, "Read All About It" is a Caribbean-flavored pop item that isn't unlike something Paul Simon would have done in the 1980s. Is Leap of Faith typical of Cexton's output? No, and it isn't one of Cexton's definitive releases. But it demonstrated that Anello's company could put out something commercial and still maintain its integrity.

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