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Pieces of a Dream: In the Moment

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In the Moment is Pieces of a Dream’s 20th album, released as the Philadelphia-based outfit is celebrating its 37th year as a group, and here the band shows that it still has plenty of interesting musical ideas. While most of the tracks on In the Moment reflect Pieces’ signature grooving urban-jazz sound, the group mixes things up with a satisfying variety of styles and moods.

The album kicks off with the title track, an upbeat midtempo groover driven by cofounder James Lloyd’s sparkling piano work. The dance number “Steppers ‘D’ Lite” boasts rhythms that will get you moving and a catchy melody that will stay in your head, while the funk-electronica tune “TTYL (I’m Driving)” spotlights Rohn Lawrence’s jazzy guitar stylings. “New Jazz Swing” tips its hat to New Jack Swing, the R&B/pop style popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s that is closely associated with producer-artist Teddy Riley. Pieces’ lively, highly danceable take on the sub-genre is propelled by an irresistibly funky beat.

Several tracks on In the Moment lay aside the groove in favor of more stripped-down arrangements. The quiet, plaintive ballad “Misty-Eyed” combines acoustic guitar with a horn-like synth melody. Lloyd’s ringing Rhodes complements Tony Watson Jr.’s lyrical sax on the bluesy ballad “Coming Home,” the spare arrangement highlighting the sweet melody.

In the Moment closes with Lloyd’s solo piano version of the standard “There Will Never Be Another You.” The track gives the keyboardist a chance to show off his jazz chops and he more than delivers, with a nimble, graceful reading performed with obvious relish.

Originally Published