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One of the finest
Fingerprints - Dream Life
Review by Brad WalsethFingerprints, a Dallas-based group, has been around for 15 years and is considered one of the finest contemporary jazz combos in the South. On their 5th release, Dream Life, the group again sets out to prove that "smooth" jazz can be substantial and played with skill and feeling. Compared to such groups as the Crusaders, Pieces of Dreams and Spyro Gyra, Fingerprints brings its own southern-fried approach into the mix. They open up things nicely with Herbie Hancock's "Tell Me a Bedtime Story" - arranged as a smooth jazz number and featuring Shelley Carrol on flute; and they follow that with band leader and virtuoso bassist Frederick A. Nichelson's piccolo bass and Claud Hardrick's soprano sax taking the leads on the addictive title track. This track was dedicated to the late great Wayman Tisdale and also features keyboard player Bernard Wright. The Memphis-born Nichelson brings a soulful direction to the sound, as evidenced on "Acoustic Soul," while singer Tim Jones makes his first appearance on the southern soul-drenched "I Am a Man."
The group for the most utilizes some tasteful synthesizer programming, but they do indulge a bit on Diane Warren's "For You I Will" - which also showcases guest John Gordon on tenor sax. Other cuts are funky, smooth or Latin-flavored, and Bernard Wright also adds a new arrangement of Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird" - with some nice work from guitarist Robert Lacroix. Carrol adds some Texas tenor on the ballad "Lonesome Rhodes," while vocalist Jones reappears on "Anything for You" - with more strong tenor sax from Gordon. If you dig the sounds of contemporary jazz, you'll probably get into this release from the southern branch.
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