Bobby Lyle – Hands On
(Heads Up – 2006)
by Ray Redmond
During a creer that has spanned three decades Bobby Lyle has developed a worldwide reputation for his dazzling piano technique as well as his versatility. He has that unique ability to constantly reinvent himself, both as a leader, sideman and even as music director for superstars like Bette Midler, Al Jarreau and Anita Baker. “A contemporary celebration of love, life and rhythm” is how Bobby Lyle describes his Heads Up debut. “Within the twelve songs there are expressions of all of those things. I wanted the overall tone of the record to be funky and upbeat, but with romantic interludes.”
Lyle’s 15th album overall, Hands On blends of contemporary jazz classics and acoustic piano compositions, crosseing the boundaries between straight-ahead and contemporary jazz. The CD kicks off with “Passion Drive,” one of nine original tracks to spotlight his ability to combine acoustic piano sophistication with addictive beats. The thick and insistent groove on the title track draws from both modern and old-school music. Lyle’s R&B background is obvious on such tasty morsels as the Emotions hit “Best of My Love” and Michael McDonald’s “Minute By Minute.” Longtime Lyle fans will love the bright and bouncy “Fancy Pants,” the quietly elegant jazz standard “Poinciana” and the graceful “True Spirit”.
Hands On features special guest Peabo Bryson, who co-wrote and sings on the track, “Lost In Our Love.” “Peabo and I are good friends, says Lyle. “I’ve always admired his work and he’s a first class crooner. He’s so professional and easy to work with. He always delivers.”
With the release of Hands On Lyle adds another notch to his already impressive discography belt.