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Bryan Savage: Rush Hour

Bryan Savage’s Rush Hour is a mixed bag that struggles to balance typical bustling urban keyboard grooves with more creative electronics, leaving only a jumbled impression of the wind instrumentalist’s considerable talents. Interestingly, some of the album’s weakest tunes come in the form of familiar pop/R&B covers-the type of song a jazz player would typically use to showcase improvisation, creative timing or at least a reverent straight cover. The arrangements here accomplish none of those things-an urbanesque, quietly meandering “Sunny” merely smooths the original’s edges, and “My Cherie Amour” lies flat and colorless on a fluffy background and strange pace (though Savage attempts a rescue with his sweet flute line). Much more engaging are the stylized, slow-step ballad “Coral Princess,” marked by Savage’s gentle soprano piping and retro-keyboard accents, and the subdued, intriguing “Seville,” with its gliding Spanish-guitar flavor and snaking flute melody. Savage’s flute is also a winning presence on the album’s most creative outright romp-the brisk, earthy “Zuma Beach,” which rides over humming electronic curves and jazzy interludes. This type of hooky, soulful jam leaves the slow-developing, over-puffed vehicles of Rush Hour in the dust.

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