Walter_beasley-rendezvous_span3
May 2002

Walter Beasley
Rendezvous
Shanachie

On Rendezvous (Shanachie 5086; 41:59), saxophonist Walter Beasley offers a rarity-a contemporary jazz/R&B genre album that is both romantic and accomplished, resisting the instrumental padding and cliches that mire so many decent soloists in sap. Beasley, who also handles keyboard and programming duties here, plays to his strengths as a soloist, strutting along a catchy, mellow-soul vibe on the easygoing "Good Times" and punching sturdy soprano licks on the optimistic grooves of "Coming Home." In romantic mode, Beasley sings in the modern-balladeer, ornamented-note vein for the sweet "Things I Do for Love," and catches a surprising Smokey Robinson vibe on the upbeat, soulful "Can This Be Real." But his best voice still remains the sax, and from the rubbery, bubbling grooves of "Reflections," leaving room to wail and dance on an across-the-top solo, to the warm acoustic pleasures of the Chuck Loeb-produced title track, Beasley shows a range and flair that few can match.

Originally published in May 2002
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