Linny Nance

On and Poppin'

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Although newcomer keyboardist/composer Linny Nance could benefit from a movement away from synth on his debut, On & Poppin', he cleverly balances the cheesy synth vibes with some very unique production ideas using live instruments. A pretty enough ballad, "Gift" features an impressive dual lead melodic line featuring saxman Tom Braxton and Nance's synth, but the emotion is undermined by weird electronic vocal cries and way outdated synth harmonies. The title track features a funky electronic keyboard melody but is most notable for the rising energies of the brass section of saxman Fulton Turnage, trumpeter Willie Roy Jr., and trombonist James Wallace -- a combination of real live soul and too much machinery. Nance plays around creatively by leading "Last Night" with a trade-off between harp sounds and low-toned keys which sound distorted in the mix. The melody turns too spacy at one point but is almost rescued by an accompanying live muted trumpet line by Nance himself. A similar pattern emerges throughout, with potent tunes like "Jam for Pam" undercut by electronica, while at the same time boosted slightly by some real-life soloing (on that tune by saxman Charles Ledbetter). Because Nance's melodies are all first-rate, the problems should be easy to fix. Perhaps a bigger budget next time will also help resolve the problem of electronic percussion which often sounds like it came from a robot rather than a human programmer.

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