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Satin Doll (1974)

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Larry Mizell

Named after Duke Ellington's classic "Satin Doll" -- which producers Fonce Mizell and Freddie Perren give a '70s feel here -- this delightful LP is further indication of Bobbi Humphrey's God-given gifts. "Ladies Day" is syncopated and spacy; Humphrey's flute stalks the groove like a hungry cat. Everyone seems awestruck on "San Francisco Lights"; the tribute to the Golden Gate City opens with some shimmering effects and never progresses above a waltz tempo. Like a good painting, something new is revealed every time you hear this one. Humphrey's sweet, sensitive soprano voice shines on "My Little Girl," a song about her baby girl. Beam with the new mom as she relates the joys her baby has brought her. A tasty rendition of Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life" is done in straight roadhouse style. The superb midtempo "New York Times" is cool contemporary fusion, and Humphrey blows in, out, around, over, and under the airy percolating track. You have no heart if you can't feel the pain on "Rain Again," a moody, somber instrumental. This album isn't as compelling as Blacks and Blues, but is far more impressive than the jazz fusion happening at the same time. ~ Andrew Hamilton