George Howard

Midnight Mood

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For George Howard, Midnight Mood is business as usual, and not in a good sense. This predictable CD finds the saxophonist (heard mostly on soprano) once again resorting to the worn-out pop/urban contemporary/jazz formula that had grown incredibly tiresome by 1985 and wasn't sounding any better in 1998. From the vacuous, knee-jerk elevator music of "Still in Love" and "Within Your Eyes" to a robotic cover of D'Angelo's R&B hit "Smooth," Howard sees to it that every note is in place and is careful to avoid any type of spontaneity. The album does contain a few decent cuts, including the haunting "Africa" and the sexy "Find Your Way" (which features R&B singer Marva King). But on the whole, Midnight Mood is the work of someone much more interested in selling CDs than saying anything meaningful on his horn.

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