Jango – Closer To Home

Closer to Home Closer to Home
(Samson Music – 2000)
by Ray Redmond

Due out this July, Closer to home is a great follow-up to their debut release Dreamtown. The CD starts off kickin’ with Soul Casserole, a retro-funk flavored instrumental with overtones of the group’s Steely Dan and Tom Scott influences.

Let me take a moment here to again state that “Jango does Steely Dan as well as Steely Dan”, maybe better. How better? Rather than try to imitate Steely Dan, they create entirely new music from the point of view that the average Steely Dan Fan takes, creating great jazz that Feels like Steely Dan. This is even more aparrent when you hear Joyful Caravan. The vocal stylings, the way the entire song is laid out and performed is classic Steely Dan.

Sweet and Lowdown is a smooth, lush tune…maybe too smooth for smooth jazz radio, but it is one of the better tracks. The smoothness continues through the rest of the CD, ending with a second helping of Soul Casserole. The title cut Closer to Home will be played on NAS radio, because it follows the ‘formula’. Don’t get me wrong, this track is a GOOD example of smooth jazz embodied, with Steve Nieves’ saxophone sweetly reminding us of why Kenny G gets so much air play.

As with all albums, some tracks are better than others. Although a few tunes sound a little too much like Steely Dan, give Jango credit for remaining creative and interesting, something that’s got to be hard to do when you start out sounding like another great group.