Blues & Hues

Clifford Lamb

Weber Works Label 2020

Review by David Bowling

Pianist and composer Clifford Lamb has produced a conceptual fusion album, which is an interesting statement at face value. While Blues & Hues may not be a completely well-defined jazz album; but Lamb’s approach and style fit the format.

His primary backing musicians are jazz trumpet player Nicholas Payton, bassist Buster Williams, and drummer Cindy Blackman Santana. He also uses such backing artists as vocalists Laura Vail and Alex Brown ( one of Ray Charles original Raelettes), rapper Anacron, guitarist Tariqh Akoni, and flutist’s Justin Klunk and Scott Mayo.

His approach is to bring together original and classic songs. The highlight of this eight track album is “Peace Prayer,” which is representative of this approach. Native American influences, a hundreds year old spiritual, rapper poetry, and “Teen Spirit” by McCoy Tyner all morph together into an elegant mix.

Other highlights include No regrets, which uses music by Spanish composer Mannel de Falla as a jumping off place for his own smooth jazz and the old American classic “I Love’s You Porgy,” where Lamb demonstrates his piano versatility.

Lamb has  a smooth melodic style that sustains his creativity and makes the complicated nature of his music very listenable.

Blues & Hues is an interesting amalgam of styles and tempos that intersect into a album of creative jazz and at time real beauty.

Rating: ***1/2