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Pieces of a Dream — All In

Nov. 2, 2015

Forty years in the business of knocking ‘em dead musically and still looking and kickin’ it like 20-year-olds. That’s not just an anomaly. Pieces of a Dream CDThat’s Pieces of a Dream. Co-founders James Lloyd and Curtis Harmon just don’t have the word “quit” or “slow down” in their vocabulary, and it certainly can’t be found coursing through their veins which seem to be filled with inexplicable energy. Witness their latest endeavor All In. A total experience in how to get and hold the c-jazz/funk/R&B groove until there’s just nothing more to give – for the moment.

Kickin’ off this party is the funky-tight up-tempo jam “Turn It Up,” followed by the equally lethal title track. Let me stop here and say that there is no wonder at all why Lloyd remains one of the most sought-after pianists/keyboardists/composers/producers in the biz. His heavily jazz-influenced style and technique have never ventured far from his Philly roots, and the electricity it emanates is uncanny. Couple that with his partner-in-crime, the top-to-bottom funk-heavy drummer/composer Curtis Harmon, and you’ve got what can only be described as one of the most formidable forms of musical ingenuity around today. Is there any wonder why the renowned late great icon Count Basie once proclaimed them as a “tough act to follow?” Yeah. Count Basie said that. For students and those who aspire to play this music, this is how it’s done. You just might wanna pay close attention.

Getting back to the marvelous music found on this latest release, you simply must make an evening of listening pleasure among your things to arrange when settling down for this one. From the cool, suave mid-tempo “Quiet Night in the City” to the strutting, snappy, head-boppin’ “Watch Your Step” to the sexy island call of “Caribbean Nights” with its incredible melody, horn arrangement, and come-hither feel and all the way to the finale “How Bout That!!!,” this album is simply on fire with jazz, soul, funk, and exquisiteness.

The duo employs some seriously high caliber talent to help out here, including saxman Tony Watson Jr., bassist David Dyson, guitarist Rohn Lawrence, and master producer/keyboardist Chris “Big Dog” Davis.

With this material and the cast of musicians contributing, this was a no-miss album from the beginning. If you’re a bettor, you’ve just gotta go All In on the success of this one. Happy 40th, guys. – Ronald Jackson