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March 1998

Pieces of a Dream
Pieces
Blue Note Records

A mixed-bag offering which covers the contemporary R&B map from sassy and soulful, to loop-crazy and clich d, Pieces of a Dream's Pieces (Blue Note Contemporary 7243 8 54052 28; 62:50) to a certain extent lives up to its title. "1257" blows by like every other breezy night-scape ballad, and title track "Pieces" is a slight, muted doodle of a piece, with yawning lyrics ("some will make you happy/some will make you sad") delivered by Maxi Priest. However, the musicianship of the ensemble holds things together throughout, and listeners who stick with it will be rewarded with gems like the gospel-ish, acoustic toned ballad, "D'Vora" (well crafted by keyboardist James Loyd), the elegant pop-funk "Anyway You Want It," featuring Mike Davis' growling vocal, and a raucous cover of Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed & Delivered, I'm Yours" which boogies and rocks on Loyd's gleeful piano and Eddie Baccus, Jr.'s soulful sax.

Although many of the tracks blow by, never to be retained in memory, sterling execution by the band keeps things light and listenable, even in the less compelling moments.

Originally published in March 1998
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