Walter Beasley: For Your Pleasure

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.