Christopher Lehman: Popjazzic (2010)
Having gotten past his album's curious name, it's time to enjoy the music. This is sensuous, swaggering music whose performers wrap their ideas and phrases around hot, liquid guitar lines chasing Lehman's trumpet, which varies from husky to bright to burnished as it flutters skyward. The performers are harmonically opposed to each other like voices dissonant in their very symmetry, or dancers winding and unwinding, twirling in curvilinear filigreed patterns. The true nature of the tenor saxophone is revealed in tumbling, urban metaphors, raw and intoxicated and in stark raving counterpoint to the trumpet. The piano and organ are heard, playing ecclesiastically to a congregation of the funky faithful. Hard-driving bass and subtly shaded percussion creating a visual aura for the music as it turns colors and stellar shades of soulful timbers, alive and revved up instrumentallyor, in the case of "More Than You Know" and "Is This Love?," vocalized by the plaintive voice of bassist Mark D'Agostino.
Best of all, every chart is wonderfully crafted in the classic 32-barand in some cases several measures moresoul song. It's Motown revisited, the Motown of Marvin Gaye and The Four Tops, with a touch of the cool West Coast of Roy Ayers
Led by Christopher who? No, not the banker's brother, but a fine musician who has written every chart on this album and is surely going places. And the oddly named Popjazzic will be remembered as the one that had every fine reason for getting him there.
Track Listing: Well Funk Me Up!!!; Midnight Breeze; The Party Grind; More Than You Know; Boogaloo For Dexter; Whatcha Doin'?; Is This Love; Caribbean Coffee; Chasing The Dragon; The Diesel Train.
Personnel: Christopher Lehman: trumpet; James Davis: tenor saxophone; Charles Carrington: piano, organ; Richard Cohen: guitar; Buddy Booker: bass guitar; Brandon Lewis: drums, percussion; Tami Shoji: piano, organ (9, 10); Agi Obato: guitar (9, 10); Norm Lotz: bass guitar (9, 10); Bryant Dupree: drums (9, 10); Frank D'Agostino: vocals, bass guitar (4, 7); Rusty Cloud: piano (4, 7); Paul Lavant: guitar (4, 7); James Clouse: drums (4, 7), saxophone solo (7).
Record Label: Self Produced
Style: Hot Jazz