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Fourplay: Nocturnal Mission (2008)

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Fourplay: Nocturnal Mission How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Since the quartet Fourplay released its first CD in 1991, it has become known as a solid, if rather uninspiring, smooth jazz band, playing mostly R&B-flavored pop while incorporating minimal jazz content.



This session, recorded for a brand new label, may surprise their longtime fans, as they've gotten a little more adventurous with their choice of material, though guest vocalist Clay Aiken isn't that far from their mold. Keyboardist Bob James composed three of the tracks, with two each from guitarist Larry Carlton and bassist Nathan East and drummer Harvey Mason penning "E. D. Blues."

The set list is sort of a suite, representing a single guy heading out on the town for the night looking for companionship. James' "Night on the Prowl" has an urban swagger, while Carlton's tender ballad "Do You, Miss September" will appeal to female listeners, especially with Aiken's vocal. What is particularly amusing is the way the CD ends, with instrumental versions of Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again (Naturally)" and Frank Zappa's "Ms. Pinky."



Track Listing: Night on the Prowl; Lady's Night; Do You Come Here Often?; Dance the Night Away, Do You, Miss September?; Slip Into Something Comfortable; E. D. Blues; Alone Again (Naturally); Ms. Pinky.

Personnel: Bob James: keyboards; Larry Carlton: electric guitar; Nathan East: electric bass; Harvey Mason: drums; Clay Aiken: vocals (Do You, Miss September?).

Record Label: Provolone

Style: Contemporary/Smooth

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