by Kevin ToneyKevin Toney


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Keyboardist Kevin Toney is a superb contemporary jazz instrumentalist and composer who can perform a range of styles -- including jazz, blues, and R&B -- with equal dexterity, and his album, Strut, is a good example of his remarkable facility. For this collection of primarily upbeat compositions, Toney combined his trademark memorable melodies with a variety of grooves to create an album on which his accomplished jazz and blues stylings are spiced with a strong urban flavor. Generally, this combination works; on "Karizma" Toney layers bright, chirping keyboards over a funky rhythm, and on "Secret Agent" his irresistibly catchy melody rides atop a rapid-fire dance groove. Toney and saxophonist Ronnie Laws enjoy a little give-and-take on "Passion Dance," and the two create a haunting, gracefully grooving mid-tempo number. Toney has a way with a romantic composition, and his talent for communicating tenderness without becoming saccharine is amply in evidence on the lush and elegant "Special Occasion." On the opposite end of the musical spectrum, "Aunt Mary" is a bouncy, buoyant, completely infectious blues-flavored jam that is enhanced by quirky harmonica, courtesy of Tetsuya "Weeping Willow" Nakamuru. On a couple of tracks, the intricate arrangements might be just a little too intricate; the title track, for example, is a strong opening number and certainly sets the tone for the album, but the pulsing, bass-heavy groove and wordless vocalizing threaten to overpower Toney's delightful melody and fluid improvising. On Toney's remake of the Gap Band's "Yearning for Your Love," disco star Evelyn "Champagne" King turns in a strong vocal performance, but Toney's delicate piano fills and solo nearly get lost amid the vocals and the arrangement's powerful funk rhythm. Overall, however, Strut is a solid, richly varied, and highly engaging collection that is sure to appeal to -- and lift the spirits of -- music lovers of virtually every stripe.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/10/2001
Label: Shanachie
UPC: 0016351507723
catalogNumber: 5077
Rank: 95738

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kevin Toney   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Piano
Ronnie Laws   Saxophone
Johnny Britt   Synthesizer
Andy Cleaves   Trumpet
Craig T. Cooper   Guitar
Rahmlee Michael Davis   Trumpet
Evelyn "Champagne" King   Vocals
Chieli Minucci   Guitar
Kevin Ricard   Percussion
Lewis Taylor   Flute,Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone
Tetsuya Nakamura   Harmonica
Gerald Spikes   Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone
Jeremy Monroe   Synthesizer,Vocals,Background Vocals
Tariqh Akoni   Guitar
Trevor Lawrence   Drums
Mel Brown   Bass,Soloist

Technical Credits

Kevin Toney   Arranger,Composer,Producer,drum programming
Johnny Britt   Composer
Khaliq Glover   Engineer,Vocal Engineer
George Claiborne   Composer
Raymond Taylor-Smith   Vocal Engineer
Bossman   Engineer
Jeremy Monroe   Composer,Vocal Arrangements,drum programming
Danny Weiss   Executive Producer

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