Bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist and composer Joseph Toliver is perhaps best known as being smooth jazz saxophonist Tom Braxton's bass player for the past five years. Dancing In The Window is Toliver's first release as a leader.
This CD is a breezy recording on which no corner has been cut. There are so many cheaply done smooth jazz debuts that it is refreshing to hear one that is professionally conceived and executed from first to last track. Using a bass sound similar to the one employed by the late Wayman Tisdale, Toliver plays the lead voice on most of the tunes, even when vocals are included. Most of the tunes are vocals numbers that spice up the recording and help to make the disc very accessible, as when Toliver sings on "Simple Life" and Andrea Wallace sings the radio friendly "Inspire Me."
All of the tunes are typical smooth jazz fare with Toliver's boss Tom Braxton joins his bassist on the spritely uptempo title tune. This Latin inflused composition also allows for some nice percussion work by both Jason Thomas and Jordache Grant. It's a shame, however, that Braxton doesn't at least get a little solo spot on this, his only appearance on the disc. It is on this tune, perhaps more than any of the others, where Toliver shows off his melodically oriented improvisatory chops. His has real ability and isn't shy about letting the audience in on it.
"Inspire Me" is a nice radio-friendly composition and "Amazing" is a tune the chill market will appreciate, with some nice overdubbing of vocals by Wallace. "Just Me" is a quasi-bluesy big-type production number that is a bit of a departure when compared with the rest of the tunes on the disc. Overall this is a nice respectable solidly musical debut and with so many terrible smooth jazz debuts coming out in recent years, that is saying a lot.