No doubt some very talented fashion and makeup artists got paid a bundle to entice your eyes with seductive, softly lit visions of the gorgeous blond Dutch sax star. The good news is, even without the hard to resist packaging, Dulfer once again hits the mark with one of those funky smooth jazz discs that could keep the dullest party humming. This is the second disc in a row -- following 1997's similarly enticing For the Love of You -- marketed around an update of an old soul classic (this time, Junior Walker's 1969 hit), and it makes great commercial sense to pair Dulfer's snazzy riffs with labelmate Jonathan Butler's kindly vocals. Such an obvious airplay hit, however, detracts from the real joys of the collection, which include bold, brassy covers of two from Sonny Rollins' catalog. Dulfer plays "No Problem" pretty straightforwardly, but she and producer, partner, and all around groovemeister Ulco Bed twist "Island Lady" into a Bob Marley-inspired fantasy camp. The version also features a tenor solo by Dulfer's dad, Hans, and a trumpet romp by Arturo Sandoval. Another unmistakable Dulfer trademark employed here is horn doubling and tripling. On "Fred's Joint," she plays multiple tracks of her alto over Fred Wesley's bouncy trombone; on the Prince-like "2025," she offsets the corny quasi-millennium rap and frothy disco groove with bursts of textured horn energy. Sanborn fans might complain that Dulfer has never gotten too far away from imitating her greatest influence. She's never quite achieved her own innovative sound, but the contexts and production choices make her the primo smooth jazz party girl.
What Does It Take? Review
by Jonathan Widran