Acquainted With The Night CD


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British acid-jazz guitarist Ronny Jordan opens and closes Acquainted with the Night, this 12-song commemoration of Pieces of a Dream’s silver anniversary. Discovered by fellow Philadelphian Grover Washington Jr. when the band members were in their teens, the rhythm section does the late sax great proud with inspired guest shots by tenor men Kenny Blake and the ubiquitous Gerald Albright. But Acquainted with the Night seems to really be the coming-out party for pianist James Lloyd. He wrote or cowrote three-fourths of the songs, and his maturity as a producer and soloist is evident, particularly the haunting “Trance.” He also shines with Albright on “Off the Hook,” which they definitely are. The only odd blemishes on this otherwise worthy smooth-jazz celebration are the two vocal selections, both of which are inexplicably Diana Ross covers, featuring a surprisingly ineffective and seemingly unaffected Maysa from Incognito on “Upside Down,” and a raw attempt at hip-hop on the theme from the 1970s movie Mahogany. –Mark Ruffin