Times 4: Eclipse (2010)
San Francisco Bay Area quartet Times 4 finely tunes its compositional prowess on Eclipse. Sparked by snappy pulses, and memorable hooks, the unit attains an attractive balance between radio-friendly jazz and several instances of serious-minded improvisation. At times strutting its stuff, the quartet imparts a stylistic up-tempo rendition of sax great John Coltrane's timeless classic, "Naima."
Times 4 transforms "Naima" into a peppery groove-centric piece that is not overly-technical or way out of line. Here, saxophonist Lincoln Adler's notes take on vocal attributes atop keyboardist Greg Sankovich's organ treatments and resonating electric piano phrasings. Although the band renders a less austere version of Trane's masterpiece, it keenly sustains the probing melody and core framework, expanding the piece via solos during the bridge, while drummer Maurice Miles lays out a quiet funk-rock pattern to close it out. Times 4 translucently merges contemporary jazz with a touch of virulence and soul.
Personnel: Greg Sankovich: keyboards; Kevin Lofton: bass; Lincoln Adler: sax; Maurice Miles: drums.