That's The Time
Life, Love and Jazz are all the same...
If you've been with me for the last couple of years, you know how I love to drive and take note of good jazz music. My listening booth and I have been put down some serious miles since the last time we were together and CDs like Fourplay's new Heartfelt doesn't make the vehicle maintenance schedule come any slower.
Sitting back, either with a fat goblet filled halfway to the top with some of California's best or running hard, tachometer wound to the right on some secluded piece of highway, Heartfelt is a soundtrack for both. I've been waiting for a 'classical' smooth jazz album to crop up among the regular 'block busters' I've been grabbing off the shelves over the last six months or so and I think you'll believe me when I say I have… finally. Besides what I've heard from Gregg Karukas, normally,
with artists like Euge Groove, Boney James, Candy
Dulfer and the like, I'm putting my Pioneer and kick
system through its paces with the windows rolled down, top popped up and open and summertime coming in. A sounding off sax, a snapping snare and bass booming out, artists like these guys can be depended on to push notes back at folks with regular intensity but this time round, Fourplay plays heartfelt harmonics this now 40 year old might be expected to be listening to… well to some degree.
Case in point…
Me, you and my Civic closed up with the A/C on full, we pull out heading south on NC hwy 43 for my by-weekly work money ride. I slipped in Heartfelt for a first time run through and after a Pioneering preview, the first cut "Glaxia" comes to the fore. Bob James starts off by stirring things up by mixing in a soundscape that resonates like a waterfall in the African Sudan. Nathan East and Larry Carlton tune-up and Harvey Mason man-slaps a hello on the skins. After a few bars of 'in the key of', Bob fires off phrases while Nathan bottom bounces off my tens in the trunk. A minute into the groove, Larry wires in and Harvey displays why he has been voted best on drums at the last few jazz awards ceremonies. Nathan checks in by chopping off a bass walk right down the frets during the quick run over the bridge. Trying out their "new sound", Nathan's breath and all, the group gives credence to their web page propaganda right from the start. During the foray into the fusion like stroll, Nathan does his trademark vocal over bass and Larry screams gitty-up on his guitar. The tune is over before it begins and leaves you asking what just happened and asking for more. Fourplay has sure changed what is normally expected. I'm looking like I like it! Whoa!
Track two touches down sounding retroish Bob and formal Fourplay. On this piece, I rolled down the windows and popped the lid for a stoplight gig. Here at "That's The Time", Bob programs his Korg's synthesizing cords to chirp like the days of old when Taxi, 1, 2 or 3 were in vogue. Bob fronts a free float solo while Harvey keeps time with his right foot and a ratamaque. After the introspecting intro, the opus opens opposed to oppressive omnipresence and the thing take off from there. Bob lays down keynote phrases that announces to the world outside my Civic "This is Bob James playing and this is how he sounds"! Once heard by any discriminating jazz head, they know who it is too; we take a thumbs up from the man in the blue SUV. Green light and my head begins bopping a 4/4 against the whiplash restraint. Larry grooves guitar and cries out during the bridge then the group falls back into it to do it all over again, Bob note synching Larry all the way through. Pleasant and melodic, this cut flows and bends like long stemmed daisies being blown by the cool breeze. "That's The Time" is like children playing, laughing gleefully in a lawn sprinkler till the final splash and dash off Harvey's Sabian cymbals.
Hey, I got a head job! Oh! You so nasty!…. I mean I got a head job done to my Civic man! After footing it around, grabbing gears just for the sport of it, I thought it time to freshen things up a bit. I just got it back so I dropped a twenty worth of high-test octane in her
this morning for this tri-county run for the boss'
beckon. Feeling things out for the first time after the
break-in period, like this CD, you can tell the differ-
ence. The VTEC valve job, intake, bottom bore and
a shave was just what the clutch doctor ordered!
Breaking neutral to first, second then third at about seven grand now comes on as strong as Heartfelt's track three.