Picks and Pans Review: Double Vision

updated 05/26/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/26/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Bob James and David Sanborn

If a Grammy were awarded for the Best in Jazz Muzak, keyboardist Bob James and saxophonist David Sanborn would be odds-on to win with this joint venture. Abetted by some of the finest studio musicians in the country—bassist Marcus Miller, guitarist Eric Gale and drummer Steve Gadd—they have released the most lackluster collection of fusion tunes since Chuck Mangione's Feels So Good. The whole LP sounds like blatant background music. The keyboard playing of James, who penned the theme music for TV's Taxi, is always neatly crafted and pleasantly fluent. Sanborn's solos are precisely phrased, and the band's ensemble work is clean as a whistle. But if you're up for songs with interesting ideas or unpredictable musical turns of phrase, look elsewhere. The one exception is a gauzy, string-heavy arrangement of Since I Fell for You, sung by Al Jarreau. The honey-voiced singer puts more emotion into this one cut than there is on all the other tunes combined. He even manages to kick Sanborn out of his somnolent tooting mode for a minute or two. (Warner Bros.)

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