Gene Dunlap

Tales of the Phatman

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Gene Dunlap has spent most of his career working as Earl Klugh's drummer, and on this return to bandleading after six years he remains comfortable playing a supportive role. Dunlap is credited for drum machine programming and percussion on nine of the 11 tracks, and doesn't perform at all on two. His drum tracks set up patterns that are embroidered upon by the members of his band, among them multi-instrumentalist Rayse Biggs, keyboard player Charles Scales, saxophonist Ray Manzerole, and guitarist Perry Hughes. The band plays melodic smooth jazz, sometimes suggesting the later work of Miles Davis, especially when Biggs breaks out his muted trumpet, as on the title track. "Got 'Til It's Gone" is the recent Janet Jackson song, an R&B workout, while "As We Grow" has a Latin feel. But throughout, this is accessible fusion paced, but not led, by Dunlap's drum tracks, making him seem like a modest sideman on his own project.

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