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Bob Belden: Tapestry

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The latest in Belden’s series that has saluted figures as diverse as Sting and Puccini, Tapestry pays tribute to the Carol King album of the same name, an unprecedented hit when it came out in the early ’70s. With the help of synth player Scott Kinsey, trumpeter Tim Hagans, electric bassist David Dyson, drummer Billy Kilson, guitarist John Hart and others, he demonstrates that King’s tunes have held up well over time indeed.

The gospel/blues foundation of the material translates well to the ’90s fusion instrumentation. Most of the treatments are relatively faithful to the originals, although the hip arrangements feature plenty of cool grooves and textures. Some nice blowing takes place, too, with Hart getting down on “I Feel The Earth Move,” Hagans blowing laid back phrases on “Too Late Baby,” and pianist Kevin Hays stretching out on “You’ve Got A Friend.” The most extended track, though, is the funky “Natural Woman,” which accommodates a stabbing soprano solo by Belden, a rollercoaster workout by Hagans, and killer synth displays by Kinsey. All in all, it’s quality work that never threatens to become an accessible rehashing. Somewhere, King must be smiling.