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Plastic Temptation

Uri Caine Bedrock

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Album Review

Uri Caine is known for his willingness to combine jazz and Euro-classical music, and the Philadelphia-born pianist/arranger has often done so with highly imaginative results. But a different side of Caine asserts itself on Plastic Temptation, which doesn't sound anything at all like his jazz-meets-classical experiments. This 2009 recording finds Caine playing electric keyboards exclusively (no acoustic piano this time) and operating as part of Bedrock, a group that also includes bassist/guitarist Tim Lefebvre and drummer Zach Danziger — and Bedrock's work is as funky as it is unpredictable. But anyone hoping to pin Bedrock down stylistically is out of luck, because Plastic Temptation is all over the place in terms of styles. The most convenient way to describe this hard to categorize effort is probably "instrumental fusion meets vocal soul/funk meets electronica." Some of the instrumentals recall '70s-era Miles Davis, but without any trumpet playing; "Noid" and the title track are tunes that would not have been out of place on Davis' Agharta or On the Corner albums. But when the gritty singer Barbara Walker (also from Philly) is featured on "Roll with It," "Work It Out," and "Till You Come Back to Me," Plastic Temptation takes a '70s-minded soul/funk turn along the lines of Rufus & Chaka Khan and New Birth. Walker is also featured on the Brazilian-flavored "Lemonada Vasconcelos," which isn't unlike something Flora Purim would do with Airto Moreira. And abrasive, dissonant electronica offerings such as "Riled Up" and "Ink Bladder" are best described as techno. But as eclectic and far-reaching as Plastic Temptation is, Caine and his associates never sound confused or unfocused. In fact, the 61-minute CD is admirably cohesive. Plastic Temptation will come as a surprise to those who associate Caine with jazz-minded interpretations of Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach, but it's an exciting journey if one is open to hearing a totally different side of the risk-taking musician.

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NPR has good taste...

Heard “Count Duke” on an NPR show and came straight here and bought it. : >

Plastic Temptation, Uri Caine Bedrock
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