Nick Colionne,
Keepin' It Cool
(Narada, 2006)

Fred Rogers, Joanne Rogers, Christopher O'Riley, Joe Negri, George Benson, Stephen Foster and other musicians share the common heritage of being affiliated with Pittsburgh, Pa., and their love of music. Sadly, some of these fine musicians are no longer with us, but their legacy lives on through their music. George Benson is a premiere guitarist with roots in Pittsburgh jazz, and is justly revered as a stylist of some note. Nick Colionne is an interesting performer and has talent, but his music does not inspire like George Benson's, whose style and music Colionne most resembles.

Upon the first go-around, the music works. It is fresh, breezy and provides good background for a quiet dinner out. The first selection, "Can You Feel It," makes a nice smooth start to what evokes cool jazz, with strong guitar, keyboards and electronica, a la Mike Logan on Hammond B-3 and Fender Rhodes, and Steve Cole on keyboards, programming, tenor sax and flute. Colionne provides guitar licks and Khari Parker the drum work to interesting effect and some flair. However, the music never reaches the soaring joie de vive that others less well known in the clubs seek and often attain with no less effort or talent. The familiar tune, "Rainy Night in Georgia," features vocals by Colionne, and is again, pleasant, but not more than background music that easily fades into the background.

The CD is well produced, features music primarily written by Colionne and other musicians who play on it. However, this CD is not more than an evening out at a franchise restaurant with canned music piped in, and really, isn't dining out supposed to be more than just pleasant?

review by
Ann Flynt

1 November 2008

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