How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Wilton Felder, a founding member of the legendary Jazz Crusaders, presents his trademark smooth jazz sounds with a satisfyingly funky touch and laid-back soulfulness on Let's Spend Some Time.
The arrangementsnot always a strong element in smooth jazz outingshave a particularly fine quality, an intermingling of sax/trumpet, synth and loops. The first two cuts, "Smoke House" and the title cut, as well as "Ooh Wop, Doo Wop" and "High Water," have the crisp jazz funk feeling of the late-Miles Davis/Marcus Miller teaming on the often overlooked Amandla (Warner Bros., 1989), with bouncing bass lines and intricate synthesizer soundscapes.
Felder teams throughout with trumpeter/flugelhornist George Shaw, who contributes some masterful soloing and duet passages. The saxophonist slips in a couple of vocal numbers: "As Long As I'm with You" and "No One," with A.J. Luke doing lead and background duties, giving the set a Curtis Mayfield vibe.
Wilton Felder moves smooth jazz/funk forward on this inspired set which could bring new fans to the genre.
Track Listing: Smoke House; Let's Spend Some Time; As Long As I'm With You; Ooh Wop Doo Wop; Cruzin';
The Love I Need; High Water; I Remember Chet Baker; In the Moment; Information; As Long
As I'm With You (instrumental); No One; Where Love Comes From.
Personnel: Wilton Felder: saxophones; George Shaw: trumpet, flugelhorn, muted trumpet, keyboards,
spoken work; Tim Heintz: keyboards, synthesers, syntesiser/MIDI programming; Chuck
Rainey: electric bass; Michael Adams: drums, percussion, drum machine programming; A.J.
Luke: all vocals and background vocals