Pieces Of A Dream - No Assembly Required


Pieces Of A Dream, my all-time-favorites, will release a new album April 27th. "No Assembly Required" is an album which continues the long list of good albums POAD already have released in more then 20 years of their career. POAD was founded in 1975 in Philadelphia when the principal members were all teenagers. Under the patronage of jazz legend Grover Washington jr. they started in 1981 with their first album "Pieces Of A Dream" and all albums were milestones of smooth jazz with the exception of the album  "'Bout Dat Time", which was more a disco CD. Since 2001 POAD are signed with Heads Up International and the result are albums like "Acquainted With The Night" and  "Love's Silhouette".

The upcoming album is a continuing process of professionalism. The album starts with It's Go Time. Eddie Baccus wrote that piece together with James Lloyd. The prolific sax player has recorded four cd's with the group: "Pieces", "Ahead to the Past", "Acquainted with the Night" & "Love's Silhouette". 

Devotion is a cover song of EWF's 1974 release "Open Your Eyes". It features vocalist Tracy Hamlin, who already had her debut on "Love's Silhouette". Tracey's vocal prowess is exceptional and I absolutely understand that POAD love to perform with her. She is an asked singer and already played together with Carlos Santana, Grainger, WPG Trio, Maysa and Dennis Chambers.

David Dyson is the bassist who regularly plays with POAD, when Gerald Veasley is prevented from joining. His debut album "Soulmates" was already reviewed on this website. David about his influences: "My parents took me to concerts all the time: Earth, Wind & Fire; Billy Preston; Rufus with Chaka Khan; Parliament with Bootsy on bass -- the list goes on and on.  What first geared me toward jazz was Herbie Hancock's “Headhunters”; I was nine years old when I heard it, and it knocked me out." Dyse It Up is a piece for a bass player written by David and James Lloyd. David calls his music “Groovemotional”.

Yeah Baby is featuring Jeff Robbins on sax. He is backed by James Lloyd playing some keyboard riffs in a wah-wah mode. Versatile saxophonist Jeff Robbins has worked with everyone from the Dallas Wind Symphony, Albert Collins, B.B. King to Harry Connick, Jr. The track fits nicely in the smooth jazz roaster.

Swerve has the experienced mélange of some piano, sax and (hip hop) drum programming. James Lloyd played all instruments. This is blazing piano mastership.  

Who U Wit has a solid drum background served by Curtis Harmon. Featured sax player is Jason Davis. Jason is soloing on a closed melody structure. Absolutely propulsive.

The second collaboration with David Dyson is On Her Wings. Anew I am admiring James Llyod's piano running well accompanied by Todd Parsnow on guitar. I cite James Lloyd: "It's really cool when you work with people whom you respect musically and personally. You just sort of get a vibe going and bam, there it is." Todd Parsnow is occasionally playing with the group "Network". He also played with Joe McBride on the albums "The Texas Rhythm Club" and "Keepin' It Real", with Linny Nance on the album "On & Poppin'", with Kirk Franklin on "Rebirth" and a lot more.

Summer is that "hanging-out-in-the-park-kicking-back-and-lying-in-the-grass" tune James Lloyd love to play and we love to listen too. The tones are sparkling in the sunshine, a catchy summer hit.

Want A Piece Of This? Sure! This is funky and organatic. This is for jammers.

The title track No Assembly Required is featuring the next sax player: Joe Vincelli. Joe's debut album is called "This Life". Frankly spoken this is a James Lloyd piano tune "par excellence". Especially the second part of the piece is a musical piano eruption.

The final Lunar Lullaby is a short journey into New Age. "That started off as a one-and-a-half-minute thing that we originally submitted for a movie, but it didn't get accepted," James explains. 

Before I wrote this review I have already read some other reviews about this album. I was really surprised to find some negative comments in the web. Well, all reviews are subjective. In fact you doesn't find innovations on this album. But when a group is on such a high level of musicality one can really light-heartedly renounce modernism. POAD should stay on their line of music.