Debbie Spring

Ocean Drive

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Classical violist Debbie Spring churned out her debut album, Ocean Drive, on the "Oxymoron" label in 1990, touting it as her exploration of the world of jazz. While the prospect of a jazz violist is an interesting one, conjuring up the likeable possibility of the instrument's traditionally darker tone (in comparison to its sibling, the violin) leading the spirited brightness associated with many contemporary jazz styles, Ocean Drive is anything but dark. Admittedly, Spring's compositions are complex and technically well executed, but the album suffers under the weight of super-glossy production, cheesy swirling keyboards, and uninspired performances, all doubled by the unfortunate blow that this album is far from a jazz record. Really, it is an exercise in the new age genre, and perhaps Spring would have fared better leading her own group if Ocean Drive was marketed toward the new age audience instead of as contemporary jazz.

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