The Green-Eyed Keeper is Michael Cain’s latest release on Native Drum Music. Cain is an acclaimed pianist and composer with teaching credits at the Eastman School of Muisic, Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music and now at Canada’s Brandon University. The recording features Jack DeJohnette on drums and Lonnie Plaxico on bass, Matthew Fricke on guitar and vocalists Tondrae Kemp and Melissa Rose.
Billed as "a journey through Electronic, R&B and Soul music as well as piano/bass/drums trio music," The Green-Eyed Keeper features Cain attempting to package several genres of musical composition into one collective work. Cain, DeJohnette and Plaxico are featured together as a jazz trio for a few selections for more of a traditional, straight-ahead jazz sound. The addition of Fricke’s guitar moves the group into more smooth jazz sounds. The vocal styling of Kemp and Rose reflect influences of neo-soul and electronica. However, the vocal selections on this recording don’t appear to truly fit in with the rest of the selections. Their inclusion make the overall project seem disjointed as the album moves from one genre to the next with little to no segue. Thematically, this effort would stand on its own merit effortlessly as a jazz album, but the inclusion of the vocal selections and spoken-word selection appear superfluous.