Spring Break

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Kilauea featuring Daniel Ho has endured much criticism since their Antigua Blue (a marginal set, full of old Russ Freeman tunes and minimal inspiration) was a Top Ten smash in 1991. Last year's Tropical Pleasures proved a delightful bridge into their own sound, and the coolly enticing Spring Break marks a true turning point. Aside from its tenacious listenability, the disc is anything but a Rippingtons ripoff. This is due to the band's maturing as a full fledge unit; Ho's sense of melody and arrangement, as well as his dazzling solo chops (mainly on acoustic piano, which carries many a heartwarming theme), guitarist Dave Murdy, and charismatic flutist and saxman Greg Vail. Vail's charisma complements Ho's tender playfulness on tracks like "Casual Elegance," and he has a splendid time joining Charley Davis' sassy trumpet on "Winner Take All." The contributions of Steve Reid and Steve Bailey may garner Kilauea a few more misplaced Ripps comparisons, but Ho and company have forged their own sweet sound.

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