Money in the Desert
The Good Things
Keyboardist Bill Laurance got his start as a founding member of Snarky Puppy, a band that came out of the acclaimed University of North Texas College of Music. On this solo set he's on piano, Fender Rhodes, and other keyboards, backed by Snarky bandmates Michael League on bass and Robert "Sput" Searight on drums. Laurence puts his education to full use by writing and arranging all the material here. The results often sound like a film soundtrack that combines modern electric jazz grooves and a panoramic sweep of strings with occasional passages of horns. Violinist Zach Broch stops by for “Chia,” adding an expansive solo to the proceedings. Those digging the strings will enjoy “Gold Coast,” “Ready Wednesday,” and others. While the swirling “Neverending City” has a fair amount of post-production effects, “Swag Times” is a chill lounge confection that's somehow uptempo but relaxed. While the skill of the string arrangements is a highlight, the surprising “Smokers Castle” has a sort of ominous reggae bounce to it that offers its own joys. Laurance says this was a real labor of love for him, and that’s quite obvious.