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Al Jarreau: Heaven and Earth

Album Notes

Personnel: Al Jarreau (vocals), Vernon Black, Corrado Rustici (guitars), Paul McCandless (oboe), Dan Higgins (saxophone), Jerry Hay, Robbie Kwock (trumpets), Mike Mani (keyboards, programming), Louis "King Pin" Biancaniello (keyboards, organs, synthesizers, programming, horns, bass), Frank "Killer Bee" Martin (piano, keyboards, synthersizers, flute), Jeff Chambers (bass), Myron Dove, Joel Smith (electric bass), Narada Michael Walden (drums), Marquinho Brazil (percussion).

Background vocals: Boni Boyer, Claytoven Richardson, Tony Lindsey, Skyler Jett, Sandy Griffith, Nikita Germaine, Jeanie Tracey, Rebecca West, Kitty Beethoven, Chris Hawkins, Raz Kennedy.

Recorded at Tarpan Studios, San Rafael, California.

In yet another attempt to crack the R&B market in search of a hit, Jarreau turned to producer Narada Michael Walden, who, in tune with the times, tunes a few of the rhythm tracks to a truckin' hip-hop pace, mixes in some ballads, stirs, and hopes for the best. Little of this mixture catches fire...you guessed it, the material often lets the hardworking Al and his cast down. Parts of "Blue Angel" kick butt in an acid-jazzy way, and the lonely muted trumpet wafting through "Superfine Love" is very effective, but we can do without things like the bathetic title track and the streetcorner soap opera of "Whenever I Hear Your Name." But then suddenly, the CD throws out the R&B and concludes with an imaginative vocal treatment of Miles Davis/Bill Evans' "Blue In Green (Tapestry)" -- at first leisurely and lush and then Latinized. Finally, we hear something utilizing Jarreau's multifaceted expressive capabilities, but not for long enough to justify the price of the CD alone.Yet it's good to know that this is here. ~ Richard S. Ginell



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