Courtney Pine

To the Eyes of Creation

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It certainly seems as if all of Courtney Pine's previous albums were leading up to this one, (check out his liner note, which leaves no doubt). Here, he comes up with a grandly eclectic excursion into just about everything that has interested him in the past. Sometimes the metamorphoses take place within an individual track; for example, there is a "Country Dance" that sails forth in a folk-like manner until pianist Julian Joseph sends it into straight-ahead post-bop and Pine (on tenor sax) whizzes it like a madman onto Coltrane's turf. There are whiffs of Latinized jazz, jazz-lite to a rock rhythm, an African vocal interlude, pure Jamaican ska grooving on "Eastern Standard Time," a venture into India ("The Meditation of Contemplation" -- ooh, what a giveaway title), conventional R&B balladeering by singers Juliet Roberts and Linda Muriel, a drum solo piece for Mark Mondesir, more Coltrane tributes, even a respectful, straightforward rendition of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song." The changes of pace, sound and style are dizzying, and they don't come together as a whole; the disc sounds more like an anthology than a single project. Pine displays a lot of talent and a lot of curiosity but not a whole lot of organizing sense or memorable insight here.

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