Michael Martin


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The average record buyer might be more motivated by the small collection of heavyweight names that producer/composer Joe Melnikas rounded up for this album than they may be for the singing headliner. But ultimately, the record has to stand or fall on the shoulders of Martin, who has a pleasant tenor voice but not much unusual interpretive insight or charisma - and Melnikas, whose collection of tunes and collaborations occasionally reach the point of distinction. Those points include "Autumn Leaves" - not the one you know, but a lovely, conga-accented Melnikas tune with some very attractive flute work by classical/jazz player Danilo Lozano - and the soca-styled "Bip Bam Bou." Otherwise ... there are always the famous guests to fall back upon. "Waiting For Godot" and "Aya" have three members of the Laws family singers Debra and Eloise (who also appear on several other tracks) and flutist Hubert * and a fourth, tenor player Ronnie, shows up in suavely funky form on "Talk To Me." Freddie Hubbard makes a restrained, pithy appearance on the strutting "Park Avenue West," but is in some audible trouble on "Moulin Rouge." And Wilton Felder is clearly having a good time on "Bip Bam Bou."

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