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July/August 2001

Freddie Ravel
Freddie Ravel
GRP

For his first album in five years, Freddie Ravel, elegant keyboard stylist Freddie Ravel offers sweet, sometimes lush confections with an occasional twist of world beat for added zing. The result is a joyful, romantic offering from top to bottom. The galloping flamenco timbre of "Echo de Amor," which opens the album, sets the bar. While classically wrought, the sweeping tune finds Ravel stretching into some truly fiery stiff-fingered break passages. Likewise, "Samba Mundial" boasts jumping party percussion and horn hits, but counters with Ravel's level, smooth-surface play for a unique balance. "Conversations" edges towards dusky soul, with the melodic feel of a vintage Burt Bacharach tune, while "Bolerino Bella" slows things down with more synthesizer and modern colors, but dissolves into a dreamy conversation between Ravel's thoughtful piano lines and Peter White's acoustic guitar work. Perhaps the most colorful piece here is "Dame tu Calor," with the brisk, stylish Latin flurry of Strunz and Farah on acoustic guitars. The overall feel is optimistic and light, even when things get a little strange, as on the oddball, samba-toned "Love Is in the Air...When You're Aware," with its goofy vocals. Somehow, it seems to fit within the context of Ravel's lighthearted approach.

Originally published in July/August 2001
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