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Soundscape U.K.: Uptown Groove

As Soundscape U.K., the duo of Mick Talbot (keyboards) and Chris Bangs (drums, bass, programming) makes tasty, discofied jazz on Uptown Groove (Instinct INS 525-2; 51:26). Always detailed and interesting, while sometimes evoking an aerobic workout feel, the duo experiments with thumping club beats on pieces like the frisky “The New Groove,” featuring Dave Priseman’s swinging trumpet, and the pumping “East River Dance,” a journey punctuated by electric keyboard accents. Details like Lisa Grahame’s subtle sax work on “Feel the Love,” and the crisp guitar corners of “Uptown Groovin'” lift Soundscape’s work above the typical programmed-groove dance fodder (although “Never Felt Love,” fronted by the big, diva voice of Opal, is shamelessly derivative of the disco classic “I Never Knew Love Like This Before”-but why quibble?). With their mastery of the busy dance groove, synth strings and retro electronica, this duo could one day be a pitch-perfect collaborator for fellow Brit and blue-eyed-soulster Lisa Stansfield.

Originally Published