Jones extravaganza, or perhaps "We Are The World." Seventy-seven musicians, most of whom are names well-known on the L.A. studio scene over the last twenty-five years, come together in various combinations to pay tribute to Jeff Porcaro. Porcaro, who died in 1992 from inhaling fumes from lawn chemicals, is perhaps best known as the drummer in Toto, but he has performed on countless albums running the gamut from rock to R&B to jazz.
The songs and the musicians on this album are similarly varied. In fact, it has led me to consider that the music that has emerged from Los Angeles since the seventies has defied genre pigeonholing - it's simply popular yet artistically valid music. The jazziest cut is "Bag's Groove." "Stuffy" and "Jeff's Strut" are modeled after the music of Stuff. The Steely Dan influence is felt on their tune "Babylon Sisters" and the opener "E Minor Shuffle," which at times comes so close to "Black Friday" as to suggest plagiarism. Tunes by Boz Scaggs, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix are also included, as are several originals penned specifically for this project. The most unique tune is "21 Drum Salute," which is a corps-type cadence performed by 21 drummers and percussionists ranging from Porcaro patriarch Joe to Jeff's three sons and a nephew, plus the likes of Steve Gadd, Peter Erskine, Dave Weckl and Vinnie Colaiuta.
Okay, now that I'm name-dropping, listen for Toto bandmates Steve Porcaro, David Paich, Steve Lukather, and David Hungate, as well as jazzers Joe Sample, Tom Scott, David Benoit, Jimmy Haslip, Larry Carlton, Nathan East, Abe Laboriel (Sr. and Jr.), and many, many other recognizable talents. In any event, this is a heart-felt labor of love for a drummer who obviously had many friends and influenced many people. Most important, it's a widely varied, yet consistently enjoyable CD. The genres may shift considerably, but it's all good music.