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coverpic flag US - California - Full Moon 40 - 01/21/00

Robert Kyle
Blue Winds
Upside Out Records

Like any musical style, jazz has many branches. On one extreme there is fusion, with each musician going their own way and often creating difficult harmonies; on the other there is classical jazz, more refined, though often less challenging. Where fusion tends to overindulge, more traditional jazz tends to be too restrained at times. Happily, there is a middle ground for the average listener.

Here, on a collection of straight-ahead jazz, Robert Kyle has brought in something too often missing from contemporary jazz: fun. There is a playfulness here, especially on tracks such as Blues 4 Dr. Foot and Mr. G's Wild Ride, that makes you want to snap your fingers and bop about the living room, tapping your toes and traumatizing your cat. And this liveliness is pleasantly balanced with ballads, such as Three Angels and the closing Sweet Life.

Featuring Jason Harnell on drums, Tomas Gargano on bass, Llew Matthews on piano and Robert Kyle on various saxophones, this album is recorded in such a way that the music doesn't sound overly processed and layered but rather fresh and alive, as if the quartet where sitting in the corner of the room jamming. Another nice touch is the accent of guitar and harmonica on certain tracks, neither instrument overly represented in jazz.

So if you're not into the disharmonious sounds of fusion, but find classical jazz too refrained, here's an album that will get your shoulders swaying or your toes tapping and remind you that people are playing these instruments - very talented people. For more information, please visit Robert Kyle's site.

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