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Mindi Abair: Life Less Ordinary

Saxophonist Mindi Abair’s smashing good looks may have a part in her success and exposure, but there’s no denying the craft of her first two CDs and their picture-perfect smooth-jazz singles. With her sales numbers growing, you might have expected this CD to further the arc of her hit-making blueprint. But now she’s gone all Sanborn on us, emulating one of her sax heroes. With Life Less Ordinary it’s clear that Abair won’t be satisfied popping out repetitive grooves each year. That doesn’t mean that the CD doesn’t have its share of hits. Two instrumental tracks stand out as among the catchiest she’s recorded: “Bloom” and “Long Ride Home.”

Abair and musical partner Matthew Hager clearly want to capture the energy of a live show. Abair’s playing, mostly on the alto, is looser and blusier. Her funky alto solo during the intro to “Do You Miss Me” signals her new sound, as does the pounding bass line. The bluesy feel is recaptured on the smoky-bar vibe of “The Joint,” where Abair’s sax floats and screeches over a repeated blues-guitar riff straight from the ’70s.

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