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Great rhythms, flat melodies

Illumination
By Elements

RCA Victor: 1987

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This review first appeared in the May 6, 1988 issue of the San Diego Evening Tribune.

The heart of great jazz bands has traditionally been the rhythm section. This should give Elements, led by bassist Mark Egan and drummer Danny Gottlieb, an extraordinary advantage. Instead, while the beat and timing on "Illumination" are never in doubt, the melodies and harmonies seem flat.

Compared to the high level of energy and enthusiasm present on Elements' latest album, the paucity of melodic ideas and originality is all the more glaring. The melodies are overly repetitive without the progression and growth necessary to give a song life.

Throughout "Illumination" the band seems to be following a script; improvisation is absent. In light of the obvious talent present on this disc, the results are all the more disheartening.