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Garden of Forbidden Fruit by Norman Hedman's Tropique

The cover of Norman Hedman’s new CD, Garden of Forbidden Fruit, features a bold, colorful illustration of a woman in a lush tropical setting, but there’s an unexpected city skyline in the background, signaling the meeting of an island paradise and an urban jungle. This captures a little bit of what’s inside.

The CD proves that percussionist and composer Hedman is as comfortable performing breezy island-inspired tunes and Latin grooves as he is with jazz and rhythm and blues. For other artists, this diversity would be schizophrenic, but it works for Hedman, whose precise playing and creative rhythms thread through each song, tying the pieces together. It also helps that Hedman is joined by his longtime band, Tropique. The familiarity allows the musicians to interject strong solos into the music and then fall right back into working as an ensemble.

Hedman, who has worked with Alicia Keys and Roy Hargrove, has writing credits on 10 of the 12 songs. Four of the tunes feature vocals by four different singers - Ada Dyer, James D-Train Williams, Dani Stevenson, and Kendra Shank. Williams does an especially good job on the R&B tune "Angel Of The Night." His silky vocals dominate the song, but Hedman’s congas and percussions are right there throughout the number, giving it wings. Alexei Tsiganov’s vibes add a splash of freshness to the song.

The CD features a variety of material, ranging from the funky opener "Rundadar Dance" to the island-inspired closer "Island Spice." There’s a lot to like about Tropique and Garden of Forbidden Fruit.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Norman Hedman's Tropique
  • CD Title: Garden of Forbidden Fruit
  • Genre: Various Jazz Styles
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Power Light Records
  • Tracks: Rundadar Dance, Closer, Cutting Loose, Angel Of The Night, Because I Can, Garden Of Forbidden Fruit, It’s Just Not The Same, Wherever U R, Walk In The Moonlight, Feeling My Way, Wait & See, and Island Spice
  • Musicians: Norman Hedman (congas and percussion), Willie Martinez (timbales), Misha Tsiganov (piano), Alexei Tsiganov (vibes), Ron Monroe (bass), Craig Rivers (flute), Sam Furnace (alto sax), Ada Dyer (vocals), James D-Train Williams (vocals), Dani Stevenson (vocals), Brad Mason (flugelhorn), Kendra Shank (vocals), Robert Aron (piano), A.J. Mantas (vibes), and Joe Gonzalez (bongos)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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