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Joe McBride: Double Take

With an easygoing, graceful piano style and rich bluesy voice, Joe McBride has a solid foundation of talent and personality that goes a long way on Double Take (Heads Up HUCD 3044; 46:01). It’s therefore strangely perplexing that rather than showcasing these primary, key elements, McBride chooses to cover them in gooey layers of synthesizer and programmed rhythmic elements. Prime examples of this phenomenon occur on “Lower Granville”-which covers up McBride’s sparkling, blues-tinged piano melody-and “Chicken Joe”-a funky romp which utilizes keyboard clich s and a clunky background to deconstruct a blissful, jumping piano line. When McBride defies this tendency, and lets his true colors emerge, the results are lovely: he teams with Rick Braun and Peter White for the acoustic romantic “Midnight in Madrid,” and offers a jazzy, offbeat read of the ’70s pop chestnut “Baby Come Back,” combining his pretty, emotive vocal with a nice soprano sax solo by Wayne Delano. What this Double Take needs is more Joe McBride, and fewer smooth jazz accoutrements clouding the vision.

Originally Published