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Past Meets Present on Pieces Of A Dream's 'Soul Intent'

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has a long reputation for producing great jazz, blues and R&B. John Coltrane and Grover Washington, Jr., are among the many musicians who made their mark in Philadelphia. Another longtime Philly favorite, Pieces of a Dream, has become synonymous with "smooth jazz."

Smooth jazz was still in its infancy when Pieces of a Dream first appeared on the Philadelphia jazz scene in 1976. The teenaged trio: keyboardist James Lloyd, drummer Curtis Harmon and former bassist Cedric Napoleon, delivered a fresh new blend of jazz, funk and R&B, which led the great Count Basie to call the group "a tough act to follow."

That sentiment was shared by fellow-Philly jazzman Grover Washington, Jr., who heard Pieces of a Dream on a local television show and recruited them for his brand new production company. With Washington's help, the group became an international sensation.

Pieces of a Dream's past and present come together on their latest album Soul Intent, featuring a tune reminiscent of early-1980s R&B, "Vision Accomplished."

Drummer Curtis Harmon describes the track as "vintage Pieces of a Dream." "It gets back to the heart and the core of how we like to write, what we like to play, and what we want our sound to be," he says.

Harmon and co-founder James Lloyd were intent on getting back to a simpler funk and soul sound without sacrificing their trademark smooth pop-jazz ballad sound.

"Hindsight" features veteran Pieces of a Dream saxophonist Eddie Baccus Jr., as well as guitarist Rohn Lawrence and bassist David Dyson.

Pieces of a Dream are set to perform selections from their new release Soul Intent at the Berks Jazz Festival in Reading, Pennsylvania on March 29.