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Out of a Dream

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Album Review

Once upon a time, it was pretty common for successful rock musicians to take an occasional ribbing from older players wanting to know why they couldn't hack it playing "real music," and not coincidentally, there's also a long history of rock dudes taking a stab at jazz stuff just to show that they could play it if they wanted. Danny Federici is best known for his solid keyboard playing and fancy footwork with Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, but he's also displayed an interest in soft jazz, and his second solo album, Out of a Dream (it's his third if you count the fact 1997's Flemington was reissued as Danny Federici in 2001), Federici and sax player Michael Cates offer up a set of very polished jazz fusion tunes with a faint R&B undertow. Federici leaves no doubt that his skills go far beyond the funky roller-rink organ he pumps out with Springsteen, and his keyboard patterns here are both sophisticated and tasteful; the guy never overplays, but fills out spaces with an admirable concision, while Cates takes the melodic forefront on many numbers, displaying a full-bodied tone that meshes well with the tunes. Out of a Dream is well-crafted from front to back, but for all the precision of its surfaces, there's a certain lack of fire here, and not an awful lot that separates this from the work of dozens of other purveyors of glossy fusion. If Federici wanted to prove he could make it as a jazz cat, Out of a Dream shows he has both the smarts and the chops, but this set needs the input of a frontman who can bring some much needed passion and personality to the proceedings — rather like what Springsteen brings to Federici's main gig.


Born: January 23, 1950 in Flemington, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Keyboard player Danny Federici has been closely associated with Bruce Springsteen throughout his career. Although Federici came from northern New Jersey, by the late '60s he was part of the community of musicians playing at the Upstage Club in the south Jersey shore town of Asbury Park. His first band, the Storytellers, also featured Bill Chinnock. He then moved on to the Downtown Tangiers Band, which included drummer Vini Lopez. In the summer of 1969, he and Lopez formed the hard rock group Child...
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Out of a Dream, Danny Federici
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