Kenny Pore, Sessions, Vols. One and Two (CD, 57:11 and 61:47) KGP Recordings 52001-2 and 52002-2, 1998 P.O. Box 490 Euless, TX 76039 Phone: 817-571-0879 Cyberhome: www.kennypore.com Kenny Pore produced and wrote or co-wrote all the material on this two-volume "best of" package which spans the late 70s to the mid 90s. His own acoustic guitar playing is heard only on the latter half of volume two. Otherwise, he remains behind the mixing board. The roster of session musicians Pore assembled for these recordings speaks for itself: Pat Coil and Russell Ferrante on keyboards, John Patitucci and Jimmy Haslip on bass, Vinnie Colaiuta and Chad Wackerman on drums, Brad Dutz on percussion, Robben Ford on guitar, to name just a few. Not surprisingly, the production values are very high and the package is polished to a high sheen. The music is strictly radio-ready "smooth jazz," a term I really don't understand since there's virtually no improvisation on either disc and the harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary of jazz is nowhere in evidence. For the most part, Pore tends to write the same tune over and over, although "Hold It to the Light," "One for Lillian," and "You Can't Stop Me Now" are exceptions. Brandon Fields's Sanborn-influenced sax is the chief melodic voice, except on five tunes from volume two, where Pore's guitar takes over for a brief, refreshing spell. The high-caliber musicianship saves the music from itself at times: Pat Coil's keyboard sounds are sophisticated, Vinnie's hi-hat on "Hold It to the Light" is engaging, Dutz and Coil create a Tribal Tech-like vibe in the beginning of "Touching Hearts," and Patitucci and Vinnie make for one heck of a tight rhythm section, needless to say. ~David R. Adler
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