Courtney Pine - Devotion (Telarc, 2004)
Upon first listen, I really liked this CD, but the bloom fell off of the rose rather quickly. On the upside, Pine sounds great - he has a deep, strong tone on tenor saxophone and a fluid sound on soprano. What holds things back on this disc are the arrangements which range anywhere from slick r&b experiments to smooth ballads with vocals. When Pine has a chance to stretch out and play he does well, particularly on the Indian influenced "Translucence" where he is placed in an exotic setting of sitar and electric instrumentation. Overall, the music is too scattershot to really be effective, it's as if he tried to include all of his diverse musical interests in one record. Pine is an admirably multifaceted musician, but the attempt to include everything leads to a lack of coherence in an otherwise promising disc.
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