Tenor saxophonist Ron Blake’s Sonic Tonic (Mack Avenue) is a well-crafted exercise in buttoned-down modern jazz. The CD, produced by Meshell Ndegeo-cello, is laced with enough stylistic wrinkles to keep things interesting: the title track’s CTI-esque organ-based funk, the calypso-inspired “Tom Blake (Revisited)” and the Latin-tinged “Chasing the Sun,” to name a few. There’s nothing distinctive about Blake’s solo style. He’s a plain-spoken, funky melodist with ample chops, not much different from many other mainstream saxophonists.
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