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Ed Calle: Twilight

A former sideman to such groundbreaking artists as David Byrne and George Clinton, saxophonist Ed Calle offers a stalwart entry in the mellow R&B/pop-jazz genre with Twilight. Calle plays piping, lively soprano on cuts like “Joyful,” built on the warm, easygoing grooves that populate smooth-jazz airwaves, and sultry tenor for sly melody lines on “Smood Dude.” Trafficking in some of the genre’s trappings, like programmed handclaps and jingling synths, never bogs down Calle’s work, though at times it does teeter on the edge of camp. When you think things are going sideways, the saxophonist himself becomes the main attraction, with enough power to hold your interest. A tinkling cover of Minnie Riperton’s “Lovin’ You” is as corny as the original, for example, but Calle adds a clever horn chorale to the song’s chorus to add a pinch of punch. However, the album’s strongest tracks diverge from the formula, like the driving guitars and orchestral sweep of “Spanish Rose” and the full, swinging sounds of “Lover’s Lane.”

Originally Published