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Soul of a Free Man

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Album Review

When veteran saxophonist Patrick Lamb called his excellent early 2007 release with vocalist Patsy Meyer Don't Get No Better, he was clearly thinking of a clever title, not a truly accurate assessment of his burgeoning solo career. While best known as a backing saxman for Bobby Caldwell and Diane Schuur, he's fully liberated as a cool and pop-R&B singer on this well titled follow-up, which was released just a few months after his dual project with Meyer. Relegating his tenor and soprano mostly to a sizzling four-part horn section, he focuses instead on romantic, easy funk songwriting and his appealing lead vocals. Off and running on the lively, blues brimming "Back in Love," the soothing seduction "You Are My Everything" and the hopeful sweetness of "I Remember," Lamb seduces throughout over the rising horn harmonies and the shimmering touches of Hammond B-3 (by Glen Holstrom) and Rhodes (George Mitchell). The bubbly moments are nicely balanced by gentler, more intensely heartfelt expressions like "Baby, Let Me See Your Smile." It's all very vibrant and retro, and indeed will remind listeners of some of Caldwell's best horn-inflected tracks over the years. Checking the songwriter credits, it's no wonder that there's ample room for some serious soul patrolling; one of Lamb's co-writers is Lee Garrett, who co-wrote some of Stevie Wonder's biggest hits.

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