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Sweet Spot

Kevin Toney

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Album Review

As far as hip and funky smooth jazz keyboardists go, Kevin Toney may not get the type of press and exposure that Brian Culbertson gets, but he more than compensates on Sweet Spot with an incredible array of grooves and a soulful style rooted in a 30-year career as an R&B heavyweight. And groove-intensive it is, from the thick shuffle behind the dreamy melody and speedy improves of "Mister T" to the consistent throb (courtesy of bassist Mel Brown) on the jumpy and instantly hummable title track. Unlike many purveyors of his instrument who use guest sax players because it's more radio-friendly, Toney seems to basically say, "here's what I do, dance, tap your toes, listen to me jam, forget the horns." The one exception to this, the retro-flavored, joyfully discofied "Coast to Coast," is more of a marketing idea in that he defers to new labelmate Pamela Williams rather than an outside star. Tracking Toney's influences is fun, in that he goes from the ultramodern (a lush reading of the recent pop hit "Dilemma," featuring Paul Jackson, Jr. on guitar) to a playful party tune ("So Much Fun") reminiscent of the Ramsey Lewis experience, complete with spirited background conversations à la "The In Crowd." Sweet indeed.

Biography

Born: 1953 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A world-renowned jazz recording artist and musician, composer/pianist Kevin Toney's music covers a broad range of styles and is timeless and classic yet always contemporary. Born and raised in Detroit, MI, he attended the prestigious Cass Technical High School and performed with many of the city's top jazz musicians including Marcus Belgrave and Donald Walden. His early musical...
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Sweet Spot, Kevin Toney
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