All the tracks on Too Cool are well-produced, grooving gems featuring Lynn Riley’s signature saxophone sound. From the close horn harmonies in the title cut to the Latin flavored Missing You it is apparent that we are set for a musical journey brought to us by Riley.
Grover’s Groove pays homage to the soulful and original Washington, also a Philadelphian. The inspired playing by Lynn Riley is all her own, not merely a copy of Grover. Compliments to Riley for “doing her own thing.”
The mood changes dramatically with the fourth cut entitled Island Breeze. Riley shows off her affinity for Caribbean influenced music with her polished flute sound. Her flute playing reflects the fact that she spent a considerable amount studying that instrument, at one point studying privately with Doris Sellers. (Principal flutist of the Kansas City Symphony)
Sedona is one of the more commercial, smooth jazz tunes that seem to partially define what Riley does best. That is until you hear Crawfish Creole. Lynn Riley displays yet another side of her formidable talents on saxophone. She plays some rapid technical passages and displays very nice control of the extreme altissimo.
The remaining four tracks Tierra del Sol, Oasis, Tag You’re It, and Pamela all offer the listener a different perspective of Riley’s different style. Tierra del Sol again features her beautiful flute playing on the aptly titled and syncopated Latin groove. Oasis is a ballad where it seems as though the saxophone sound is more traditional and classical sounding. Whether by design or not, I suspect Lynn Riley has studied a fair amount of classical saxophone, despite her contemporary and commercial sensibilities elsewhere on Too Cool.
Finally, Tag You’re It and Pamela feature Lynn Riley on soprano saxophone for the 3rd and 4th time.
Too Cool by Lynn Riley is a very enjoyable CD to listen to. Ms. Riley has a wonderful command of her instruments and has molded a unique sound for herself.
You can find out more about Lynn Riley at lynnriley.com