Rhythm Logic

Rhythm Logic

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Before even listening to this newly formed foursome, I found myself excited with anticipation; two veteran sidemen who had stunning solo debuts on Noteworthy Records a few years back, keyboardist Brian Simpson and drummer Michael White, were back in the loop. Adding bassist "Smitty" Smith and guitarist Ron Smith could only make this a soulful, exciting jam, right? And calling the project Rhythm Logic promised a load of funk...no? Well, sorta but not really. Bloated expectations aside, this is a perfectly enjoyable smooth jazz disc, only more smooth and cool than anything overly exciting rhythmically. "Tuesday's Love" features a beautiful Simpson piano melody and a Smith electric guitar solo that becomes increasingly aggressive, but overall the tune is pretty standard middle of the road genre stuff. Ditto the laid back "Full Speed" and the breezy "A Portrait of Passion," which finds Smith playing sweetly on the acoustic--but still with no real jamming intentions. Cover songs are way too easy a maneuver in trying to gain airplay, but sometimes a unique arrangement can spin the familiar in a unique direction. Not so here with overly faithful readings of Donald Fagen's "IGY" (including vocals and horns identical to the original) and Earth, Wind & Fire's "Fantasy" (likewise). This is the kind of disc that pretty much sums up the basics of smooth jazz without much adventure; everything is technically on target, and the melodies are hardly unengaging. But is it too much to ask musicians of this caliber to challenge us or live up to their clever group name?

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