On this CD, Bobby Lyle's acoustic piano is featured with strings, with several different rhythm sections, backing two throwaway vocals, unaccompanied on "It Never Entered My Mind" and "Fly Away Spirit," and even jamming during a straightahead "Blues for Dexter" with tenor saxophonist Stanley Turrentine. During practically every piece, Lyle spends part of the time seemingly attempting to overcome his surroundings. If he would drop the heavy baggage (especially the strings, the unnecessary singers and the dull drumming), Lyle could create some significant jazz. As it is, The Journey is much better than expected and fairly enjoyable.
A jazz vocal group consisting of mainly new or emerging artists. Personnel includes Daryl Bosteels, Melissa Hamilton, Van Hawk, Christopher Humphrey, Jeff Auger, Marty Ballou, Fred Haas, and Les Harris, Jr. They've made four albums thus far for Denon, one a Christmas release, with their most recent effort featuring a guest stint from Clark Terry. In spite of this CD being self-titled, it is not the first recording by the vocal quartet the Ritz, but their initial release in a series of discs for Denon. The group had been in existence for five years at the time of these studio sessions. They do a great job with a fun-filled driving take of Louis Jordan's "Saturday Night Fish Fry," a lush arrangement of the moving "It Never Entered My Mind," an almost runaway Latin-flavored "Invitation," as well as a tightly negotiated through the ultimate bop roller coaster, "Scrapple From the Apple."