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Strictly for background

That Special Part of Me
That Special Part of Me
By Onaje Allan Gumbs

Zebra / MCA Records: 1988

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This review first appeared in the September 23, 1988 issue of the San Diego Evening Tribune.

Pianist Onaje Allan Gumbs earned his reputation playing on and producing albums for other musicians. Norman Connors and Stanley Jordan are among his recent projects, but Gumbs first made his way as a professional musician playing with Kenny Burrell and Nat Adderley, among others.

"That Special Part of Me" finds Gumbs playing much closer to the easy-listening style of Connors than anything like jazz. The compositions are as simple as the playing, and are likely to be relegated to background music at dinner parties. There is nothing on this album to really reach out and grab your attention.

Gumbs' playing is competent, but not terribly interesting, and his sidemen are likewise low-key. Gumbs plays both electronic keyboards and acoustic piano, but seems more at home on piano – tracks with him on piano, like "First Time We Met" and "The Dancer," are the relative highlights here.