Some of today's trendiest, hippest rhythm and jazz grooves spur from the inventive fusion of modern technology and beats with retro sonics and arrangements, and these ideas propel outfits like the soulful, neat and natty Solar System (Sonic Images) into the realm of the ultra-hip. Essentially the guitar/keyboard tandem of Chris Standring and Rodney Lee, these bright hipsters draw upon a stirring variety of influences (from Wes Montgomery to The Crusaders and Steely Dan) to create a seductive collection long on vibe and endlessly colorful and fascinating in texture. Sax funk courtesy of Dino Soldo and just-right doses of socially conscious rap play a crucial, bouncy role in offering melodic excitement to the atmosphere heavy vibin', while Lee seems to enjoy a Joe Sample like Fender Rhodes approach to complement Standring's marvelously subdued but still energetic electric breezes. Slow, cool jams like the nearly eight minute "Give It To Me" show that Solar System doesn't shy away from raw experimentation within a slick framework, while sumptuous, can-we-top-the-original covers of early Seventies gems "Me and Mrs. Jones" and "Walk on the Wild Side" perfectly capture the era Solar System draws its heart and soul from. It's the perfect mix of something old, something new, something borrowed, but never blue for long.
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