AS FUSION albums go, the new releases by flutist Alexander Zonjic and saxophonist Michael Pedicin Jr. are likely to get lost in the shuffle.
Not that these two musicians aren't talented; they're impressive instrumentalists with a fondness for insinuating pop melodies. But those qualities aren't particularly rare in fusion music, and since Zonjic and Pedicin fail to add something special to the mix, there's really not much to distinguish them from the pack.
Zonjic, however, does have the distinct advantage of playing an instrument a bit more exotic than the fusion saxophone. Most of what he plays on his album "When Is It Real," though, follows the same breezy contours previously outlined by scores of young musicians, so that tunes like the lightly festive "Do that Again" and "Sittin' in It" sound instantly familiar. The only real exceptions are the tracks that involve fusion star and keyboardist Bob James, who contributes a beguiling arrangement of J. S. Bach's "Siciliano" and a delicate flute and piano duet of his own design called "Chicago Encounter."
Likewise, Pedicin's "City Song" is pleasant but hardly outstanding. Playing soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, he sets out on a path well-traveled (notably by Grover Washington Jr. and David Sanborn). Despite the toe-tapping appeal generated by tunes like "Would You Like To" and "Relay" and such hummable melodies as "She's Out of My Life," there's nothing strong enough here to pull you back for repeated listenings.
ALEXANDER ZONJIC --
"When Is It Real" (Optimism OP 3102).
MICHAEL PEDICIN JR. --
"City Song" (Optimism OP 3106).
Both appear Sunday at the Bayou.