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Thom Teresi: Street Smart

Pianist Thom Teresi slathers his current release, Street Smart (Rhombus RH07010; 63:46) in layers of keyboard programming and artificial sounding production elements, often undercutting his own performance skills in the process. Teresi’s compositions vary wildly-from bland, reedy reggae (“S.S. Dub”) to pseudo-Sade (the annoying, somewhat off-key “Streetrunner”) to heavy-reverb programmed funk (“Insatiable”)-but have the common thread of thin, old-fashioned/outmoded sounding keyboard effects. Teresi has some fine performance moments in the mix, like a speed-run solo on the thick & tropical “Too Good to Be True,” but those moments are often sabotaged by the effects- cheesy synth strings creep in to damage his thoughtful solo showcase, “Dedication,” for example. When Teresi takes things down a bit, however-as on “Subterfuge,” which utilizes resonant bass and a snaking viola melody-the results can be absorbing.

Originally Published