Saxophonist Lincoln Adler leads this contemporary jazz quartet from San Francisco in a program of originals that blow smoke all around the room. Where there's smoke, there's fire, and this band has plenty of it to share.
Adler has always been able to express himself on tenor and alto with a fluid charm that lends itself to soulful ballads and hip adventures. Here, he brings a light saxophone tone to each piece with a sensual articulation that speaks volumes. He merges the character of his instrument's voice with keyboards, bass and drums for a dreamy sequence of events characterized by cohesive improvisation and filled with the spirit of a forward-looking generation. Hip-hop rhythms and a groove-based approach seal the band's fate, and thus Relations surges with a mesmerizing power and charms accordingly.
Central Park and "Hericane stand out as the session's most significant pieces, bringing in impressions that are vivid and ready to roll. One belies a scene of placid lawns that serve as a background for highly athletic activities, while the other surges powerfully with dramatic force. Elsewhere, much of the album rests with a languishing dreamscape that's soothing as well as laid-back. Each dreamy piece, however, contains the kind of inner fire that characterizes Times 4 as a hot property that's ready for bigger and better things.
Personnel: Lincoln Adler: saxophone; Greg Sankovich: keyboards; Kevin Lofton: electric bass; Maurice Miles: drums.