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Bobby Lyle: Straight and Smooth

Pianist Bobby Lyle can play contemporary and straightahead jazz with equal facility and flair, a fact that is made abundantly clear on the two-CD set Straight and Smooth (Three Keys). Disc two, the “smooth” CD, offers contemporary jazz tunes like the buoyant “Tippin’,” the lush “Passion by the Sea” and “Desert Ride,” which combines Middle Eastern flavors with a house beat. Lyle channels Barry White on a cover of White’s “I’m Going to Love You Just a Little More Baby,” a string-accented boudoir number that features Lyle’s White-esque seductive vocal intro. Disc one finds Lyle performing a mix of standards and originals with an acoustic trio. The ensemble gives a stately reading to Wayne Shorter’s “Nefertiti” and turns in a fleet performance of the Lyle original “New World Order.” The charming “Bop to Bach” blends jazz and classical music, while “Blues for Dexter” is a swinging upbeat blues number. The album closes with a rollicking rendition of “Harlem Blues.”

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