Steve Reid / Steve Reid's Bamboo Forest

Passion in Paradise

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Although Steve Reid left his longtime gig with the Rippingtons to focus on his burgeoning solo career, the veteran percussion and soundscape master still draws joyfully from the Russ Freeman school of pop-jazz composing and producing. Not to mention Freeman's love for exotic imagery, as the title of Reid's latest, Passion in Paradise, might indicate. While the liner notes listing of all his "toys" are a blast to read -- what is a jaycall Chinese bell tree? Seed Pods? Kokiriko? -- he pretty much lays back, providing a solid and steady percussion foundation for the lead instruments to frolic in. This is where Reid's expertise as an arranger comes in. On "Lovers Cove," he intertwines Tim Pierce's sharp electric guitar lines with the softer Godin classical guitar and vocalese of Steve Oliver, then allows the robust tenor of Jeff Kashiwa (also ex-Ripps) to trade thick riffs with Greg Adams' brash trumpet. Titles like "Midnight Rendezvous" and "Comfort Zone" pretty much sum up the story overall. The first is a showcase for Brian Culbertson's bright, easy funk piano approach, while the other is a strutting tune which rolls along typically until Adams washes in with a moody horn wash which changes the vibe and tempo. The soundscape solo "Bahia Breeze" is a nice touch, a playful romp on the jungle jam.

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