As of early 2011, at least three members of New York Voices had recorded solo albums: Darmon Meader, Lauren Kinhan, and Peter Eldridge, whose albums outside of New York Voices have not been easy to categorize. Eldridge's solo albums have drawn not only on jazz, but also, R&B, pop/rock, folk, and world music; Mad Heaven is probably best described as "crossover jazz-pop with a strong Latin influence." Latin usually means Brazilian on this early 2011 release, although that isn't always the case. "Buffet Philosophy," for example, favors more of an Afro-Cuban groove. But the Brazilian influence asserts itself quite a bit, and that is true on Eldridge originals (including "Charmer," "Warm December," "On Second Thought," and the title song) as well as on appealing arrangements of Ary Barroso'd "Prá Muchucar Meu Coracão," Ivan Lins' "No Tomorrow," Ray Noble's "The Very Thought of You," and Carlos Lyra & Vinicius de Moraes' "Voce e Eu." No one will accuse Eldridge of being an aggressive belter on Mad Heaven; his vocals are subtle and understated throughout this hour-long CD, drawing on an intriguing variety of influences that ranges from Michael Franks to Chet Baker to Steely Dan to Brazilian icon João Gilberto. The Steely Dan influence comes through both musically and lyrically; Eldridge clearly appreciates Walter Becker & Donald Fagen's melodic sensibilities, and at times, his lyrics can have the dry, cryptic quality that Steely Dan's lyrics have long been known for. Although jazz-friendly, Mad Heaven is unlikely to appeal to jazz purists; there is too much pop/rock and R&B influence for that (even know Eldridge uses acoustic guitar, acoustic piano, and upright bass). And anyone who expects Peter Eldridge's solo output to be a carbon copy of his work with New York Voices is bound to be disappointed. But for non-purist jazz enthusiasts who are also open to pop/rock, R&B, and Latin music, Mad Heaven is a consistently enjoyable and interesting effort from the longtime New York Voices member.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson