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November 1997

Joyce Cooling
Playing it Cool
Heads Up

Guitarist Joyce Cooling shows off some appealing light-touch guitar work on Playing it Cool (Heads Up HUCD 3040; 70:02), a low-key, likeable collection of hooky melodies. Cooling's chorusey tone is fluid and lithe on mid-tempo cruisers like "After Hours," and springy and cornered on the bouncier tunes "Say You Will" and "Savannah." Unfortunately, Cooling's partner Jay Wagner has a propensity for typically ringy-dingy keyboard effects and programming which keep the guitarist somewhat caged and limited, for the most part. There are notable exceptions, however-a lean arrangement on "How Was I to Know" exposes Cooling's guitar work and smartly partners her with David Belove's singing bass, and "On the Run" finds room for a nicely executed bluesy, doodling solo. "On the Run" also affords Cooling an opportunity to sing, in a pretty, resonant alto which adds dimension to her fine guitar work.

Originally published in November 1997
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