Even without the ultra-cool poses and sharp, bleeding image cover photography of Kimo Easterwood, Hip Sway beautifully invokes a sense of old-school jazz sensibilities mixed with the acid-jazz ambience and powerful soul of co-producer Lee. The title track finds Standring echoing his muted Wes-bound melody with wah-wah punch lines, then duetting casually with the eager tenor of Richard Elliot before exploding into an irresistible brassy hook -- all over Lee's moody blue synth harmony. "Glamour Girls" features a propelling "Sidewinder"-like vamp under Standring's note-for-note duet with tenorman Dino Soldo, which builds after each verse to a rousing, brassy crescendo (synth-created); Lee does double duty on this tune, playing a Hammond B-3 solo over the vamp. Fast forwarding to the present, Standring invokes a bit of ambient master Brian Eno on "What Is Is," as he and Lee exchange distant, distorted melody lines over a spaced-out synth wash as Dave Karasony's train-track drum patter continues to hypnotize. Ditto the gentle hypnosis on a cover of 10cc's mystical "I'm Not In Love"; Standring doesn't do much improvising with the melody, but his alternating guitar tones and the enveloping atmosphere -- complete with barely audible synth horns -- are just like, well, Velvet.
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