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Livestreams every Tuesday from 5 to 6:30pm on Mixcloud featuring DJ Kendo, plus 11 years of playlists and audio from the show "Jazz Greats" on WFCF St. Augustine!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Car-Ride Review - Perry Joslin "Dreams of Reality"

Perry Joslin - "Dreams of Reality"

Pianist/composer Perry Joslin is his own thing - which makes him a little hard to describe. His compositions are longer, more sophisticated and less repetitive than smooth jazz, but they are not really "jazzy" either. They remind me of what is currently happening on the better side of pop. Joslin's melodies are so often lyrical in fact (particularly the choruses) that I can easily hear them in the hands of any of today's superior pop singers and kicking ass. There are times when the piano just isn't flexible enough to let these dreamy, occasionally unpredictable lines do what they want to do. Nonetheless, they come across, and are almost always engaging, especially when a guitar or sax doubles up on them.

Back to the genre thing. I know so little contemporary jazz I have nearly nothing to compare him with. At times Grusin-y, at times lightly funky, at times rock or pop, or all at once. Whatever it is, it's a good listen, always pleasing. The songs don't always do
courtesy of perryjoslin.com
 what you expect them to do ("I Got a Better Groove" flips back and forth from Latin to Contemporary) but they stand and deliver. One or two of the ballads are not as strong, but get lifted beyond their stratus with superb soloing. "Plop the needle" on anything from track 6-13 and have yourself a good time with the meat of the album. Highlights include "Tea at Trianon" - pop all the way with a satisfying array of hooks, "Rain" sounds and feels exactly like you want it to, and "What I Want" is one of several highly emotional tracks that build just right.

Let's talk about the band. Holy cow. If someone gave you all the money you needed to get the best South Florida musicians, this is exactly who you'd choose. Lee Levin on drums, Will Lee or Nathan East on bass, Dan Warner on guitar. Joslin rarely solos himself, but allows his cuts to be elevated into jazzier spaces with Ed Calle insanely tearing up the tenor, Mindi Abair on alto, Chad Bernstein blowing impeccable trombone and Augie Hass on flugelhorn, among others. Another very nice touch is the addition of Doug Emery on organ. Arrangements by Levin and Warner are top notch.

Whatever the genre, it's a through and through solid affair. A
s long as one goes in without expectations, happiness and repeated listens will ensue. Kudos! - DJ Kendo

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