Picks and Pans Review: Born 2 B Blue

updated 10/24/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/24/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Steve Miller

Miller has been getting more bluesy since his 1982 hit Abracadabra. Yet his new record, with such old standards as Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, Willow Weep for Me and When Sunny Gets Blue, still surprises. It's a quiet, jazzy package. Miller sounds nearly as understated as Michael Franks, with a touch of cabaret suave. Then there are occasional parts where he sounds flat, like Bill Murray doing his old lounge singer shtik. Somehow it adds up to a relaxing, melancholy album, thanks to the backing saxophones of Bobby Malach and Phil Woods and the keyboards of Ben Sidran. Miller and co-producer Sidran didn't just settle for obvious oldies like Stardust and Beale Street Blues. Part of the album's appeal is that it offers such seldom-heard tunes as Horace Silver's Filthy McNasty and the Ben Kynard-Lionel Hampton song Red Top. This is another variation—and a positive one—on the answer to "Is there life after rock and roll?" (Capitol)

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