This debut CD from saxophonist/flutist Lynn Riley, Too Cool, is just that. A cool mix of delicious grooves, controlled funk, and smooth and traditional jazz influences, with a sultry swinging rhythm snaking its way throughout the album.
Lynn Riley is a Philadelphia, PA, native who has seen a large measure of success in the form of recognition via significant awards. Among them are an award from the Trane Stop Resource Institute for her contribution in preserving and promoting Afro-American Classical Music and an award from the National Association of Jazz Educators for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education.
On Too Cool, the traditional jazz influence meshes well with the subtle Caribbean touch, and the funk is as funk should be: bold and in your face. The tasteful and classy sax runs clearly denote one who knows how to milk the scale for all it’s worth and who is all too familiar with the nuances of good smooth jazz.
The opening and funky title track sets a congenial tone that draws you deeper inside to explore the many experiences that Riley paints vividly, both on flute and sax. Speaking of flute, the romantic flair of track 4, “Island Breeze,” is simply seductively exotic and engaging as that flute lulls you into a state of sheer bliss. You can imagine strolling along that island beach without a single care in the world.
After this journey through all of the lovely moods and textures, Riley wraps it all up with the lilting and serene “Pamela.” Most of these tracks were either solely or co-written by Riley’s bassmeister, Rubin Edwards, who clearly shows why he is such a complement and asset to the sax lady.
All of the tunes here are delightfully well-conceived and approached with equal measures of seriousness and fun. Tonally crisp, well structured, and weighty, this is a solid project from start to finish. Lynn Riley shows here that she is truly Too Cool.Posted by Ronald Jackson at March 4, 2010 8:25 PM