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Bobby Lyle

In the compartmentalized world of jazz CDs, you rarely hear an album that fully embraces both smooth jazz and the purest straightahead swing. But some players have their hearts in both camps. For instance, pianist Bob James plays smooth grooves in Fourplay but switches to the jazz tradition for his self-named trio.

In this same vein is an artist named Bobby Lyle, who dares to play both straight and smooth on his CD titled-you guessed it-Straight and Smooth (Three Keys). Lyle is a veteran jazz pianist who, Memphis-born and raised in Minneapolis, has kept his sound mostly on the smooth side of the spectrum. “But my roots are with straightahead playing,” says Lyle, who toured after college with Redd Holt and Eldee Young, ex-Ramsey Lewis band members known as Young-Holt Unlimited.

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