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Nice groove; better songs needed

By John Pedersen

Paradise Jazz Music: 2006

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This review first appeared in the March 2, 2006 issue of the North County Times.

Escondido's John Pedersen's fourth album is a pleasant collection of mellow instrumentals somewhere between new age and smooth jazz.

Pedersen holds down bass and keyboards – ranging from a piano to a half-dozen different synths. He's joined by Andy Machin on guitars and Jeff Winkler on drums.

The grooves range from light rock to easy listening to out-there new age; despite the disparate styles, the band's playing is relaxed throughout. (Far more relaxed, anyway, than the cover photo of Pedersen – who's idea of paradise includes a jacket and tie under their lei?)

The musicianship seems solid, the grooves are pleasant: What is lacking is a strong set of songs. The tunes here just never really grab the listener. Fix that, and Pedersen may be onto something very good indeed.