16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
rather tepid major label debut,
This review is from: Dance Lesson #2 (Audio CD)
As a long-time groove disciple and fan of the Greyboy Allstars, I couldn't help but snatch this album up at first sight. The band lineup added to my excitement -- combining veteran groovemeisters like Melvin Sparks (guitar) and Ron Levy (organ) with new cats like Chris Wood (bass) of Medeski, et al., Charlie Hunter (8-string guitar), and DJ Logic. I was also pleased that Denson decided to bring along a fellow Greyboy Allstar, drummer Zak Najor, to the "bigtime" (a very deserving inclusion).
I've given this album repeated listenings in a sincere effort to give it more than its fair shot, but haven't been able to overcome my initial feeling of disappointment. The album starts out promisingly with the tight funk groove of Dance Lesson #2. But from there it quickly subsides into an undifferentiated succession of flat mid-tempo jams that shuffle along in seemingly sleepwalk-like state. The songwriting is unoriginal, and the playing is uninspired, almost smug. Major labor debuts don't have to be like this (witness the new Soulive album, for example).
Don't get me wrong, everything GROOVES here -- hence, three stars. But, as someone familiar with the quality of Denson's work with the Greyboy Allstars and as a solo artist, I have to say this is pretty mediocre. It's a shame that Denson, for whatever reason, presents less than himself in his "big debut." Get his other stuff first, then check this out if you want more, but not necessarily better.