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Dance Lesson No. 2 (2001)

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Karl Denson

Karl Denson wants you to dance to his music. That's why the former Greyboy Allstars frontman named his first solo album Dance Lesson #2. The disc is a collection of funky, soul-driven tracks highlighted byDenson's fiery extended saxophone solos. Like a true student of jazz, Denson is always experimenting with new collaborations. Instead of enlisting his touring Tiny Universe band, he pulled together a lineup of musical heavyweights including Medeski, Martin & Wood bassist Chris Wood, turntable specialist DJ Logic, legendary organists Leon Spencer Jr. and Ron Levy, awe-inspiring guitarists Melvin Sparks and Charlie Hunter, ex-Greyboy Allstars drummer Zak Najor, and Los Cubanos Postizos percussionist E.J. Rodriguez. The album is a jazz hybrid that flows from the straight-ahead beauty of "A.J. Bustah" to the up-tempo title track, which is invigorated by DJ Logic's scratching and the contrast between Denson's marching flute and wailing sax. "A Shorter Path #1" is a sweet tune that provides the theme for "A Shorter Path #2," a stretched-out smooth jazz exploration of "Path #1." Throughout the album, Denson's dance-inducing, driving groove infuses each inventive track with contagious energy.