Blue Mair

Swans in July

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In the early '90s, crossover/fusion quintet Blue Mair aimed at the NAC and electric jazz markets with the unfocused and problematic, but occasionally enjoyable, Swans in July. With Bob Mair on electric bass and keyboards, Frankie Blue on guitar and keyboards, Danny Pelfrey on sax, Tom Adcock on bass clarinet and Brad Dutz on percussion, the group draws on influences that range from Joe Zawinul and the Yellowjackets to Pat Metheny -- but without being nearly as inventive as any of them. Jazz is combined with elements of pop, rock, R&B, world music and new age, and the writing ranges from OK to weak and pedestrian. One of the CD's worst flaws is its stiff, mechanical, cold production -- Bob Mair does so much producing that Blue Mair rarely sounds like a real band, and Frankie Blue would have been better off playing real drums instead of sticking to drum machines. Some of the more noteworthy songs on the album include the Metheny-ish "Nepal" and the mysterious "Blue Horses"& -- most of the other material, however, is dull and quite forgettable.