The obscure jazz-pop singer Steven Kowalczyk made his recording debut with Moods and Grooves, a competent, if uneven, effort that was co-produced by Atlantic's Ahmet Ertegun. Although this CD isn't fantastic and didn't go very far commercially, it has its moments and is decent more often than not. The album's least memorable offerings include the adult contemporary tune "Old" and the uptempo "Mean Alligator," which is much too cliched for its own good. But other selections indicated that Kowalczyk had possibilities. Influenced by early Chet Baker, he shows himself to be a likable crooner on the moody "Grow Another Garden" and the standard "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" (which is the only song on Moods and Grooves that Kowalczyk didn't write himself). Meanwhile, one hears some Mark Murphy influence on more uptempo numbers like "Mr. Personality" (a clever put-down of an ultra-pretentious Tinseltown resident) and "Vampire," although Kowalczyk isn't nearly as adventurous or daring as Murphy. Again, Moods and Grooves isn't a gem, but it indicated that Kowalczyk had potential and was worth keeping an eye on.
Moods and Grooves Review
by Alex Henderson