Roberts Brothers

Sugar and Spice

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The most interesting and substantial pop-jazz and crossover jazz (Grover Washington, Jr., David Sanborn, Joe Sample, among others) came about when the artists were allowed to be spontaneous and make some type of personal statement. But unfortunately, today's NAC/smooth jazz formats don't encourage improvisation, experimentation or personal soloing--they expect overproduced background music, and their philosophy is that improvisation is to be avoided at any cost. That rule is one that saxman Jimmy Roberts and guitarist Peter Roberts--collectively the Roberts Brothers--are all too happy to adhere to on Sugar and Spice. Heavy production triumphs over spontaneity, and every note is neatly in place on laid-back instrumentals like "Only for You" and "Forever Yours." While heavy production is appropriate for dance-pop, urban contemporary and rap, a pop-jazz effort like Sugar and Spice would have been better off with less producing and more blowing. Nonetheless, this isn't a terrible album; some of the stuff that ends up on NAC/smooth jazz stations is a lot worse. Sugar and Spice is what it is: a collection of pleasant, if generic, background music.

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