When it came time to go Undercover for his third Verve Forecast project, the late saxman must have taken his cue from fellow multi-saxman Eric Marienthal and realized that the ticket to a perfectly balanced collection is utilizing the relentless production funk of labelmate/keyboardist Jeff Lorber only half the time. Lorber's trademark bounce drives the party side of Porter's personality to explosive heights, taking the saxman from a staid middle ground into a challenging, dizzying but feasible realm. But as we saw on the previous album, Straight to the Point, too much Lorber doesn't allow Porter to fully embrace his silky, romantic side. Ronnie Foster knows just what it takes to enhance the late night smooth, however, and here he keeps the grooves cool enough to let Porter's thoughtful improvisations take over. The disc jumps from tempo to tempo, somewhat indiscriminately -- just as you're boogying to the Lorber edge, the slow dances of Foster begin. And then back again and again. Fortunately, Porter's tough, well mannered tone keeps a note of consistency and fluid energy throughout, making this a playful, if all too slickly produced affair. On hand to join the two sides of midnight are soul blessed guitarists Norman Brown and Paul Jackson, Jr. ~ Jonathan Widran, Rovi

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