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April 1998

Richard Elliot
Jumpin' Off
Metro Blue

Tenor sax idol Richard Eliot hints at a welcome change of pace on his tenth album (and proclaims it in the PR material), Jumpin' Off (Metro Blue 7243 8 38251 2 7; 44:21), but for the most part stays with the formula that's kept him on the charts: sleek and slick-moody but not particularly catchy. A few tunes incorporate the aforementioned hints, like "If You Want My Love," a smaller-scale arrangement which finds Eliot piping on a charming soprano. The upbeat, free-flying "In the Groove" is another highlight, with Eliot lilting long, melodic lines against Peter White's warm-toned guitar flourish. Fans of the old Eliot, however, still have the bombastic programmed grooves of "All Night," "Nobody Knows" and the like, which cover Eliot's growling tenor (he's still a fine player, through it all) in froth. There are some departures here, so maybe there's hope that Eliot's eleventh album will take that change-of-pace thing a bit more seriously.

Originally published in April 1998
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