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Bob Baldwin: Cool Breeze

Pianist Bob Baldwin describes the style of music offered on Cool Breeze (Shanachie 5035; 58:03) as “PBJ” for Pop/Blues/Jazz. As nice as that sounds, Baldwin’s arrangements presented here are more like the bland R&B typically delivered under the guise of “smooth jazz”-but with a notable twist offered by Baldwin’s stiff-fingered piano play. Big, heavily programmed arrangements (as on “Ties That Bind”) dominate here, but are sometimes rendered oddly elegant and “saved” by Baldwin’s leads. He classes up “People Make the World Go Round” with a classically-wrought intro and gospel movement, and provides bluesy, rolling fills on “Vi’s Pies” which nearly disguises the blah backdrop. Baldwin shows his strengths best on a jazzy take on Burt Bacharach’s “Walk On By” which steps up the tempo and steps out on the strength of Baldwin’s musicianship.

Originally Published