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January/February 1999

Walter Beasley
For Your Pleasure
Shanachie

Saxophonist Walter Beasley's graceful approach to melody, varied lead voices and firmly planted old soul roots distinguish his latest release, For Your Pleasure (Shanachie 504 -44:52) from the pack as an above-average outing in a tired genre. Beasley's soprano voice is reedy and delicate on tunes like the lightly urban "From This Moment On," and a relaxed, shuffling cover of the Tootsie movie ballad "It Might Be You." Sly melody lines on his buoyant alto keep "I Feel You" in a contagious groove, and "Smoke," anchored in vintage sounding keyboard effects and rock guitar accents, a slowburning blues treat. There are occasional slips into more typical synth-heavy territory, but for the most part, Beasley manages to keep things interesting, mixing percussive textures and calling upon rootsy sounds here and there to throw a lively ripple into the smooth jazz pool.

Originally published in January/February 1999
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