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Setting the right mood

Silhouettes
Silhouettes
By Lonnie Liston Smith

Doctor Jazz / Teresa Gramaphone: 1984

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This review first appeared in the February 13, 1985 issue of The Daily Aztec.

Seeing Lonnie Liston Smith's note of thanks to spiritual guru Sri Chimnoy on the album might lead to the expectation of Indian and/or Asian-influenced grooves. Instead, though, "Silhouettes" stays firmly grounded in smooth jazz sounds, more Grover Washington Jr. than Ravi Shankar.

Contributing much to the warm, rich sound of the Washington-styled sound is saxophonist Premik. Throughout much of the album, Smith's electric piano provides harmony behind Premik's lead. "Warm" and the title track are among the best of the songs where Premik is out front; both are nice mood pieces set in a slow, romantic tempo over which Premik weaves an exotic dreamscape.

One exception to the Premik in charge theme was on "Just Us Two," where Smith plays both acoustic and electric piano, accompanying himself. "Summer Afternoon" is a typical track from this album; Smith's playing is unadorned, built around arpeggios and scale runs.

Vocalist Donald Smith does a nice job of capturing Bill Withers' groove on "If You Take Care of Me." Smith is joined on keyboards on this album by Barry Eastmond and producer Bob Thiele Jr. On "Enlightenment," there is a funkier beat – similar to Lee Ritenour's work.

This is an enjoyable, listenable album, although perhaps more suited for providing background than for serious listening.