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Pieces of a Dream
Love's Silhouette

Review by Karl Lozier
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Pieces of a Dream Love's Silhouette

SACD Number: Heads Up Hybrid SACD/CD 9071 


  The group, Pieces of a Dream, was formed just over twenty-five years ago. Their name was based on Pieces of Dreams a cover tune that the group performed early in their formative years. It was written by Stanley Turrentine. The great jazz sax player, the late Grover Washington Jr. was instrumental in helping keyboardist James Lloyd, drummer Curtis Harmon and former bassist Cedric Napoleon on their way to fame. The group built its reputation with three albums on the Electra label in the early eighties. The radio world embraced the group's smooth or cool jazz style. Later, Pieces of a Dream recorded seven more albums on EMI/Blue Note. The group moved to Heads Up International and released the album Acquainted With The Night in 2001. This silver anniversary release is still available as two channel CD [HUCD 3059].

The previously released standard CD has been on Billboard's top 10 Contemporary Jazz Chart. As with this surround sound SACD/CD hybrid release, keyboardist James Lloyd and drummer Curtis Harmon were joined by saxophonists Eddie Baccus, Jr. and Joseph Vincelli, guitarist Todd Veasley and vocalist Tracy Hamlin. Lloyd wrote most of the fourteen tracks. Some tracks have either Harmon or Gerald Gibbs collaborating. The writing combination of Gibbs with Lloyd on Pieceful Dreams probably comes closest to reminding listeners of the group's earlier style so often described as easy-flowing or simply cool jazz.

It has been reported that typically the group is known to project more energy on stage than displayed in the early recordings. From various comments and quotes attributed to Pieces of a Dream, they have deliberately setout with this release to change their recorded image. Some of the tunes were composed or performed with that in mind. Expect the album to be more uptempo with more "hard grooves". Look for more fusion as would be expected with funkier contemporary jazz.

The vocals are only on a few tracks and then often handled as background. The only exception is the last track on this recording. That is the famous Rodgers and Hart composition, "My Funny Valentine", a true classic jazz ballad. The press release of this performance attempts to describe that vocal rendition in some great detail plus some analogies. I cannot seem to do that so I will simply call it indescribable. As might be expected, with one person doing most of the compositions, there are some repetitious chords, melodies or sections apparent. A degree of sameness seems to be true for much of the scoring but with numerous exceptions. In keeping with the Pieces of a Dream's new direction, the extremely clean and clear recording is kind of "in your face", big and bold and cut at a high level with relatively little real dynamic range. It is slightly marred by an overly prominent mid and upper bass range - that will be loved by owners of low-fi audio gear and impressive looking car audio systems.

If you have not heard Pieces of a Dream recently, pay close attention to the combination of quotes by Lloyd and Harmon. "There's more fusion and this is a lot funkier, we try to stay with current times. We roll with the times, from bebop, our early albums and now to the contemporary jazz of present times with Love's Silhouette."












































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