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Solar Wind: Blue Horizon

While many of the tracks on Solar Wind’s sophomore CD, Blue Horizon (Solar One), bear warm, sunny titles and are as sparkling and easy to enjoy as a bright summer day on the beach, this is not a lightweight album. Keyboardist David Benoit and saxophonist Eric Marienthal make guest appearances on several tracks, including the catchy “Shoreline Drive,” the plaintive, pretty “Sedona Sunrise,” the gently grooving, lightly Latin-flavored “Catalina Breeze” and the breezy “Place in the Sun”-and not surprisingly, these tunes would sound right at home on smooth-jazz radio-but Blue Horizon ranges beyond contemporary jazz. On “Mix It Up,” Marc Hugenberger’s fusionesque keyboards ride bassist Sean Mason’s potent funk groove, which morphs into an extended and agile solo. “Eruption” features percolating funky bass accented by hornlike keyboard punches, and “Danse de la Glace” finds Mason layering spacey synths over a chiming keyboard bed and building the whole thing into a soaring anthem.

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