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Dunn Pearson, Jr.: It’s Midnite

A truly solid one-man musical effort is hard to find. As composer, producer, keyboardist/programmer and president/CEO of his own company, Dunn Pearson Jr. does it all-with the help of a few guest appearances-on It’s Midnite and the results are mostly cold and self-indulgent. A successful composer on the R&B soul circuit, with a string of TV and film scores to his credit, Pearson abandons his pop-hook instincts here, offering meandering tunes like “Lay Your Head on My Pillow,” which, with its strange vocals and labored tempo, sounds like it’s being played on the wrong speed. Programmed rhythms drain the life from cuts ranging from the slowburning “Do U Fantasize” and electronica soul “Love No Limit.” Pearson’s clear strength is on the piano, with gospel-tinged runs countering the cold-slap percussion on Lionel Richie’s “Easy,” and swinging out (though it takes far too long to get there) on Freddie Hubbard’s “Moments Like These.” The artist’s mix instincts seem a little off, though. For example, a cover of Robbie Nevil’s ’80s-soul chestnut “C’est la Vie” is marred by out-of-date sounding, pulsing keyboard programs. Though Pearson’s piano lead is a nice fit, these arrangement trappings prevent the piece from ever catching fire. Flashes of interplay with guests like guitarist Willie Ross (“Easy”) and saxophonist Gerald Albright (“It’s Midnite”) reveal true inspiration for Pearson, and suggest that perhaps the talented keyboardist would be best served by playing with a band, rather than trying to do it all himself.

Originally Published