David Browne
December 07, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

Rhythm People (The Resurrection of Creative Black Civilization)

Current Status
In Season
Novus, RCA

We gave it a B+

Jazz albums with such pretentious titles, like Rhythm People (The Resurrection of Creative Black Civilization) usually signify bad ’70s fusion, but saxophonist Coleman, part of the Brooklyn school of young-gun jazzmen, knows better. Leading his four-man band, Coleman prefers to give traditional jazz a shot in the arm with pop and R&B accents that, fortunately, manage to steer clear of bland crossover. Credit goes to Coleman, whose expressive sax lines are both sleek and streetwise, and the rhythm section of drummer Marvin ”Smitty” Smith and bassist Reggie Washington, who keep things popping even on languid tracks like ”Neutral Zone.” The two rap/bebop numbers aren’t as barrier-breaking as they could be, but give Coleman credit: Would any other jazz youngblood even think of attempting such a merger? B+

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