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Bebop Spoken There

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Friday, January 18, 2013

CD Review: Michael Franks - Original Album Series


Amazingly, until now, the talents of Michael Franks have passed me by. This is a shame as he has a pleasing voice, plays guitar effectively, writes nice tunes and composes some great, original, lyrics - Mark Murphy, Diana Krall, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Carmen McRae are just some of the artists who have recorded his songs but nobody does them better than the composer himself. Well you don't invent a game to get beat at it (English football fans might disagree!)
Issued as part of the important Warner Brothers' Original Album Series this 5 CD set brings together Franks first five albums covering the period from 1976 to 1980.
Crusaders Joe Sample, Wilton Felder and Larry Carlton are among the personnel on Frank's first album The Art of Tea (1976). The other four are; Sleeping Gypsy (1977); Burchfield Nines (1978); Tiger in the Rain (1979);  and One Bad Habit (1980) and each one is delightful - just so so relaxing.. The arrangements are classy with some cool vibes work and impressive sax playing and of course that contemporary, cajoling, crooning that still sounds valid today. 
It's undeniably Smooth Jazz but the voice, the material and the arrangements puts it way above mere elevator music. This is music for the Penthouse - seduction guaranteed!
Michael Franks - Original Album Series is released on January 28, 2013.
Lance.

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