Though she is only in her early 30s, Dutch-born saxophonist Candy Dulfer is a veteran in her own right, having performed and toured alongside the likes of Dave Stewart, Prince, Aretha Franklin, and others since she was in her late teens. On this new release, she takes smooth jazz in a different direction, bringing influences from funk, Latin music, and other genres, resulting in a disc that can be appreciated even by listeners who don't have an ear for jazzy sounds. Among the highlights is "Summertime," an original tune in which Dulfer does double duty by singing lyrics that celebrate the laid-back season of flip-flops and outdoor festivals. In "La Cabana," Dulfer ventures into Cuban territory, and the tune stands out precisely because it's a complete shift from the more electronic direction many of the songs take. Also check out "Smoking Gun," a reggae song penned by fellow Dutch guitarist Ulco Bed, a member of her touring band who also collaborated on various other tunes. On that track, Dulfer takes advantage of the simple melodic structure to exercise her chops, while bassist Chance Howard keeps a solid melodic backup. There are a couple of moments that fail to ignite, though. "Back to Juan" has a standard, light-jazz feel that doesn't set it apart from other similar tunes, even with the clever horn arrangement from Jan Van Duiheren. The same goes for the bonus track, "Finsbury Park, Cafe 67 (2007 Version)," a slow ballad that has the listener either snoozing or reaching for the stop button. But the overall experience is positive. Just give the funky opening track, "Candy," a spin and you'll be coming back for more soon enough.
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