Richard_elliot-chill_factor_span3
November 1999

Richard Elliot
Chill Factor
Blue Note Records

As a radio-molded sax idol, Richard Elliot plays the kind of sweaty, keyboard pulsing R&B that has launched a thousand Sanborn wannabes over the past decade. While Elliot's swinging leads overcome some of the genre's self indulgence on the more conventional commercial tracks populating Chill Factor, he also manages to sneak in some welcome raw arrangements that showcase the talents which are so often buried under the slick layers. Into the former category go catchy, if somewhat busy tracks like "Moomba" and "This Could Be Real," which is also lent a nice lift by Siedah Garrett's soulful vocal. The gem category includes some real departures: a truly funky, unselfconscious jam titled "Who?" grounded by the gospel quality of Tim Heintz's organ play; a brassy and cornered sparse vibe on "Kick It Up;" and a surprising cover of Sarah McLachlan's hit "Adia"-a slow musing read marked by retro-soul keyboards. A few self-indulgent offerings (like the dully programmed "Deep Touch") are only scant annoyances here.

Originally published in November 1999
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