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September 2006

Everette Harp
In the Moment
Shanachie

Over the past few years, smooth jazz has seen an explosion of entire CDs devoted to cover songs and an almost sobering return to “organic” recording, meaning musicians actually get off their butts and go into a studio instead of emailing sound files back and forth. On his seventh solo CD, sax veteran Everette Harp creates another testament to just how good original, hook-happy smooth jazz can be.

Taking advantage of composer extraordinaire Rex Rideout, Harp layers his alto and tenor sounds on top of killer hooks and uptempo rhythms. Then all he has to do is make the 10 songs fit together, which he does with assistance from veterans like George Duke, Norman Brown and Chuck Loeb. Loeb wrote the CD’s opener and first single, “Monday Speaks,” a catchy ride driven by Harp’s bouncy sax lead. One aside: Guitarist Brown’s name is parenthetically spotlighted along the song’s title, a common coat-tailing practice designed to entice casual fans. But if you’re going that route, here’s a vote for allowing the secondary star to actually show some skill instead of being wasted on a few strums. There are plenty of session players who could have done as well and would have been content to be buried in the credits.

That quibble aside, In the Moment certainly rises above most smooth-jazz recordings with its consistency and adherence to form.

Originally published in September 2006
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