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Kevin Cline

Kevin Cline – Piano
Paul Zimmerman – Vocals
Jim Gailloreto – Saxophone
Art Davis – Flugelhorn
Victor Garcia – Trumpet, flugelhorn
Neal Alger – Guitar
Dale Prasco – Guitar
Bobby Shew – Trumpet

Kevin Cline’s first album represents a collection of originals interpreted by a large assortment of Chicago’s finest musicians. The album features 14 originals, most of them written in a sharp contemporary style that evokes shades of artists such as Bob Mintzer and Dave Grusin.

One of the most appealing qualities of the album is how the recording takes the listener through a range of styles, many of them influenced by Cline’s extensive sideman experience as both a pianist and a trombonist. Cline certainly displays considerable skill on the trombone (listen to his excellent solo on “Make Up Your Mind”), but the album definitely focuses on his considerable piano chops. His substantial piano/rhodes organ technique and lyricism are most apparent on tracks such as “Mistletoe, Me & You” and “After the Rain.”

Cline’s freshman effort also benefits from the work of celebrated trumpeter, Bobby Shew. Shew, in particular, shines on his namesake tune “Song for Bobby” as well as “Happy-Go-Lucky,” displaying the characteristic bop virtuosity that has made him one of the most in-demand sidemen in the country. Cline also adds another outstanding trumpet voice in Victor Garcia, who contributes several terrific solos, most notably on “A Shot of J&V.” The recording also includes saxophonist Jim Gailloreto, who is simply one of the best-kept secrets in the national jazz scene. On this album, his soprano work is particularly appealing, demonstrating a gorgeous tone and modernist sparkle.

Cline gives the only standard on the album, “My Funny Valentine,” a fresh R&B flavor, with excellent vocals by Isha Maria Lewis and soulful solo contributions from guitarist Neal Alger and saxophonist Anthony Bruno. Cline also uses Paul Zimmerman’s relaxed tenor vocals to excellent effect on two tracks, particularly “Umbrella Sunglasses & Gloves,” a tribute to the great horn section bands of the 1970s such as Earth, Wind, and Fire and Chicago. Make Up Your Mind is an excellent first recording from such an experienced musician.

By: Daniel Healy

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