You've got to both admire and feel somewhat sorry for this extremely melodic and jazz/worldbeat-conscious vibes artist, who dares to make a smooth jazz-friendly record on an instrument that never hits the format's narrow radar. Spyro Gyra's Dave Samuels-driven tunes may have been a possibility years ago, but these days, it's all sax, guitar, and keys (and a few trumpets). That said, hopefully Lipner's very melodic writing and creative performing style (evident on chipper pieces like "Street Vibe" and "Treasure Chest") will find an outlet among fans willing to take chances on this kind of indie. Another unique element here is Lipner's affinity for Brazilian music, which is played straightforwardly on the rolling samba grooves of Djavan's "Flor de Lis" and, more unexpectedly, the oft-covered (but never like this) "Let's Stay Together." His bluesy twist via organist Nick Bariluk on another well-done cover, "Ain't No Sunshine," is another asset.
Modern Vibe Review
by Jonathan Widran