Picks and Pans Review: Tiger in the Rain

updated 04/23/1979 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/23/1979 AT 01:00 AM EST

Michael Franks

His vocal delivery still tends toward the stultifying, but Franks manages a few more sparks of life than in the past. It's his songwriting and arranging skills that make his work interesting—interesting enough for him to attract such backup talent as guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, bassist Ron Carter, sax man David Sanborn, trumpeter Randy Brecker and singer Flora Purim. The collaboration produces a gentle batch of Latin-flavored jazz, supporting wry—if fuzzy—lyrics. Typical is the title track, which goes, "He's the Lord of the Jungle/Everyone grins while he gripes/ Usually he's found just lounging around/In his stripes." The tune was inspired by Henri Rousseau's 1891 painting, Tropical Storm with a Tiger, art works being a favorite theme for Franks.

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