Picks and Pans Review: Three Piece Suite
Lewis, 46, is a sometime jazz pianist who even at his most commercial can also be fluid and inventive. The operative word for this LP, though, is soporific. Most of the tunes are by Lewis' band members, such as guitarists Mario Henderson and Randy Hall and keyboardist Bobby Irving. The arrangements are by producer Tom Tom '84, whose nom de disque (he was born Thomas Washington) is more interesting than his charts. Lewis is left to plink occasional melodic splashes in front of sparse backing that is often stringy in more ways than one. Only on So Much More, in which Chicago vocalist Alice Sanderson Echols seems to inspire Lewis with her light and sweet variations on a breezy song, does he show much energy. Lewis, who went pop in 1965 with In Crowd, plans a fall tour with singer-pianist Patrice Rushen, who arranged the strings on So Much More and three other cuts. That collaboration offers a lot more promise than the ones Lewis indulges in here.