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The John Tesh Project: Pure Movies 2 [Audio CD] Tesh, John Project and Tesh, John

How you view this niche product from pianist John Tesh (an assortment of pop songs from date movies that Tesh has reworked as piano-based instrumentals) depends largely on how you regard the material he has selected. Pure Movies 2 leans heavily on mass-audience two-hankie favorites: Lionel Richie's "Endless Love," Phil Collins's "Against All Odds," Michel Legrand's "Brian's Song" and "Summer of '42," and so on. The overall mood is soft and sentimental, and Tesh's playing and arranging regularly succeed at triggering the swift, surface-level emotional responses inherent in fast-acting movie music. Tesh works in both a solo mode and an ensemble setting, only occasionally goosing his pieces with swelling, emote-with-me strings ("Brian's Song," "Somewhere in Time"). Happily, his approach is generally low-key on most tracks, and he shines on pop-ensemble pieces such as "She's Like the Wind" (from Dirty Dancing) and "The Crying Game." The disc's best moment? The first track, "You'll Be in My Heart," where Tesh takes Collins's theme-setter from the animated Tarzan and retools it into a heart-racing, reach-for-the-stars gem. Two ballad-like vocal tracks are included: "When She Loved Me" (from Toy Story 2, sung by Richard Page), and the disc's lone Tesh original, "Heart of the Sunrise," featuring Christian vocalist Cindy Morgan. --Terry Wood