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Midnight Morning (2002)

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Greg Adams

Seven years after releasing his 1995 solo debut, Hidden Agenda, the famed trumpeter's interpretation of Sade's classic "Smooth Operator" is still an airplay staple at smooth jazz radio. Adams took a break from his usual session schedule with a who's who of contemporary pop music to release this long anticipated follow-up on his own independent label, Ripa Records. The incredible smooth jazz airplay success of its first single, "Roadhouse," generated a buzz which culminated in the signing of Adams to Blue Note Records. The incredible listener reaction to the song is no surprise -- its soulful horn section, performed by Adams and versatile saxophonist Gary Herbig, is reminiscent of the legendary arrangements Adams created in his many years with Tower of Power. With its exciting blend of cool, sexy ambience, gentle jazz, and intense modern R&B rhythms, the disc is chock full of other, somewhat more restrained tunes more along the lines of "Smooth Operator." These include the ethereal ballad "Andrea" (inspired by Adams' wife) and the funky retro-soul-flavored title track. His own composing skills are strong, but he knows the enduring potential of great cover tracks, offering strong twists on Toni Braxton's "Breathe Again" and the Police's "Wrapped Around Your Finger." ~ Jonathan Widran