Pieces of a Dream album review: ‘In the Moment’

Pieces Of A Dream - The album cover for ‘In the Moment’ by Pieces Of A Dream.

PIECES OF A DREAM

“In the Moment”

Kindred spirits: Grover Washington Jr., Dave Koz, Joe Sample

Shows: Friday at Rams Head Tavern. Show starts at 7 p.m. 410-268-4545. www.ramsheadonstage.com. $42.50. Saturday at the Birchmere. Show starts
at 7:30 p.m. 703-549-7500. www.birchmere.com. $35.

It’s worth noting that “In the Moment” is the 20th album by Pieces of a Dream because, well, let’s face it, who’s counting? As milestone recordings go, it’s a modest affair, less a celebration of the group’s longevity and pop alliances than a confirmation of its smooth-jazz allure.

Keyboardist James K. Lloyd and drummer Curtis Harmon, the core duo, are in typical form, tweaking a trademark mix of R&B, jazz and funk, even when alluding to other pop influences. “New Jazz Swing,” for example, cleverly references ’80s New Jack Swing, and the tracks that prominently feature guitarist Rohn Lawrence and saxophonist Tony Watson Jr. help compensate for the occasional assortment of glossy synth textures and robotic beats.

epa04176175 Shane Red Hawk of the Sicangu Lakota band of the Rosebud Sioux (L) and his daughter Tshina Red Hawk (R) wait for tribal leaders with the 'Cowboy and Indian Alliance' to begin a horseback ride in protest of the Keystone XL Pipeline across from the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC, USA, 22 April 2014. The alliance of farmers, ranchers, and tribes has dubbed their week-long series of protests 'Reject and Protect.' EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

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Keystone pipeline protest, New York World’s Fair anniversary, ATLAS humanoid robot and more.

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A prolific and gifted composer, Lloyd contributes the album’s most memorable melodies, save for one — “There Will Never Be Another You.” In concert, the pianist often reserves time for a solo
performance or two, and here his vibrantly reharmonized interpretation of an enduring pop classic is especially welcome, bringing the album to a shining close.

No doubt many longtime Pieces of a Dream fans will be seduced by this collection of radio-ready grooves and ballads, comforted by its familiar pleasures. Surprises are few, though, and some notable guests would have helped mark the occasion.

— Mike Joyce

 
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