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December 1997

Lincoln Adler
Short Stories
Chartmaker Records

Lincoln Adler's Short Stories (Chartmaker CMR 14450; 49:16) opens with promise as the veteran saxophonist rocks on a warm rendition of the pop hit, "Change the World." However, Adler's strong, soulful play soon disappears into a dense R&B-styled atmospheric fog, and doesn't re-emerge until late into the album. Yes, his strong play gamely battles the clattering drum programs dominating tunes like "Summer Soulstice," but he's consistently eclipsed by drippy arrangements, as on the Mariah Carey cover "Can't Let Go," which is even more melodramatic than the original. Adler does re-surface on the moody, bluesy "Rattlesnake," marked by a clever house-styled percussive feel, and on the stunning album-ender, a brassy, driving cover of Horace Silver's classic, "Songs for My Father." This last piece gives Adler his best solo showcase as he spirals, swings and squeals-and offers the added bonus of wicked stiff-fingered bluesy piano solos by actor Jeff Goldblum. Leave it to the multi-talented actor to help liven up the uneven "Stories" in its final act.

Originally published in December 1997
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