Count Basic

Trust Your Instincts

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Even though Count Basic -- led by Austrian guitarist Peter Legat -- has incorporated the vibes of the London acid-jazz scene, the ensemble's latest recording Trust Your Instincts is so slick and pop-minded that it makes Ronny Jordan's new effort seem like a straight-ahead jazz purist by comparison. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing; straightforward, seductive ballads like "Who's Gonna Wipe My Teardrops Away" (featuring a dreamy texturing of Kelli Sae's come-hither vocals with spacey synth sounds) would be right at home on today's hip-hop charts. The same is true of the breathy "Rise & Fall," where Sae expresses regret as a hip-hop groove swells and wanes from verse to chorus behind her. Producer Vlado Dzihan is brilliant in keeping the sonics behind her vocals interesting, on songs that might otherwise be predictable. "Richest Woman" opens with a distant, trip-hop bounce, then swirls Legat's high-toned electric with a moody Rhodes (played by Dzihan himself) offering a tense pitter-patter percussion pattern. Though the well-endowed Sae appears in front of Legat on the CD insert photo, the guitarist is given a few instrumental tracks on which to showcase his stuff. On "One One 4," he rocks gently and improvises thoughtfully (though never crossing any lines of innovation) over an edgy tenor sax line by Martin Fuss as a shuffling percussion groove drills restlessly in the background. Legat has even more fun on a version of Stevie Wonder's "Livin' for the City," which features heavy scratches and a chunky, aggressive Hammond B-3 harmony line.

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