Walter Beasley: Tonight We Love

With an elegant, floating quality to his soprano sax style, Walter Beasley crafts uncommonly romantic melody lines which are perfectly suited to waltzy, gentle tunes like the title track of Tonight We Love (Shanachie 5032; 48:32). With that said, Beasley’s talents go mostly wasted here on swirling, heavily programmed, throbbing ballads like “Never Can Say Goodbye,” and “Slowly But Surely.” The thudding “What’s My Name” even features a “voice of passion” (no kidding) for listeners who don’t get the idea. This type of over-arranging creates a muzak version of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” which just doesn’t support Beasley’s light, easygoing melody line. Much better on the cover side is a hip, uptempo read of the Roberta Flack classic, “Killing Me Softly,” reinterpreted with an elastic, bouncing lead. More of this type of invention would be a welcome relief on the next release.