It is here, on this 1977 blockbuster, that Steve Miller shored up his "Space Cowboy" moniker and cosmic persona: from the winged horse on the album cover to a judicious smattering of synthesizers in the music, Book of Dreams bridged the gap between blues-rock and the indulgences of prog rock.
For Dr. Elena Burroughs, life is divided into two chaptersbefore and after the death of her husband. Today marks the point that her span of being a wife is equal to her span of being a widow. Even her success as a psychologist and her worldwide acclaim for a book on the interpretation of dreams is dimmed by an unspoken If only. Then a new patient arrives, one so private only her first name is given. Impeccably dressed and escorted by two bodyguards, Sandra recounts a frightening series of recurrent nightmares. Elena agrees to consider her case more carefully, convinced that something ominous may be at work here.
Kenny Barron, the 72-year-old Philadelphia-born virtuoso, is the kind of jazz pianist whose resources are familiar and much-covered by mainstream swing players, but whose joyfully extravagant execution is a rarity today. That quality transforms this trio set from being a canter through a smooth-jazzy assortment of soft ballads, Latin smoochers and glossy swing. Barron has absorbed an encyclopaedia of jazz methods from a life on the road with legends such as Ella Fitzgerald and Stan Getz, and it pours out in these tracks. Magic Dance, with its glistening chords and Latin-jazz tick, sounds smooth at first but unleashes an impulsive torrent. Ballads such as In the Slow Lane display his impeccably light touch and Thelonious Monk’s Shuffle Boil isn’t Monkishly lateral but swings furiously.