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Jazzmasters 2

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Album Review

Paul Hardcastle's Jazzmasters series reaches its sixth installment with this cool, rhythmic, jazzy collection, which is similar to its five predecessors. The album cover shows a sun setting over water, and that's a good indication that the music is intended to serve as the background to a tropic vacation, or perhaps to a depiction of a tropic vacation on a TV channel devoted to travel programs. Beki Biggins occasionally contributes romantic or philosophical lyrics and sings them in a calm, emotionally disconnected voice reminiscent of Sade. Sometimes a flute or saxophone, courtesy of Chris "Snake" Davis or Rock Hendrix, plays a flowing lead line. But always, the steady percussion track rolls along through each selection for three to five minutes before the music fades out (it has to, since there is no development), to be replaced by another, equally undemanding one. Hardcastle makes a vocal appearance at the end in the form of an interview with a smooth jazz DJ during a replay of "One Chance," and he repeats Biggins' carpe diem notion from her lyrics. Here today, gone tomorrow, is the conclusion, and the Jazzmasters albums seem intended to embody that idea. While they play, they work as ear candy; when they're over, they're quickly forgotten.


Born: 10 December 1957 in London, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A producer and keyboardist from London, Paul Hardcastle debuted as a solo artist in 1984 and scored the following year with "19," an electro-oriented record featuring news reports and other sources on Vietnam. It became a major hit in his native country; in the U.S., it topped Billboard's club chart. Later, he produced and did remixes for artists such as Ian Dury and Phil Lynott. He continued to sell well in the specialty dance market and occasionally released records as part of the duo Kiss the...
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Jazzmasters 2, Paul Hardcastle
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