"Let me begin by saying that this is not the greatest jazz album you've ever heard." So states critic/DJ Harry Abraham in the liner notes on the back of Sweet Revival, Ronnie Foster's second album as a leader. Abraham was obviously trying to deflect criticism that this record is, in his words, "a commercial album that could have just as easily been titled 'Ronnie Foster Plays the Top 40 hits of the Seventies With Horns, Strings and Voices,'" but nothing he could write would make this album acceptable to jazz purists.
Samuel Kent "Sam" Harris (born June 4, 1961) is an American pop and theater musician as well as a television, theater and film actor. Harris got his start as the grand champion singer of Star Search in its premiere season in 1983. He gained acclaim and became best known for his winning rendition of the song "Over the Rainbow" on the show. "Over the Rainbow" has since become his signature song. His appearance on Star Search led to him landing a contract with Motown Records. His first single, "Sugar Don't Bite," was a Top 40 hit, reaching #36 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in November 1984. He is a multi-million selling recording artist with nine studio albums to his credit. He can also be heard on numerous concert, guest artist, and cast recordings.
This was the second of Joe Newman's three dates he led under the Swingville banner. For this session he was in the very fine company of Frank Foster (tenor sax), Tommy Flanagan (piano), Eddie Jones (bass) and Bill English (drums). Recorded 10 months after the excellent JIVE AT FIVE album (also for Swingville), and with Flanagan and Jones returnees, this album is just as good as its predecessor. Frank Foster's forceful, mainly middle-register playing is very effective, and Tommy Flanagan is as good as ever. Only one tune, MO-LASSES, which is a blues a bit too overloaded with funk, is not up the the high level of the other tracks. A solid date.