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Get into the groove. The opening track of Everette Harp's new album sends that message, loud and clear. "Kisses Don't Lie," an upbeat, contemporary jazz groove with a hint of funk and a danceable beat, sets the tone for All for You , the saxman's latest from A440 Records.
A glance at the personnel listing might lead one to believe this album is overly dependent on programming. However, programming is just a toolthe use of modern technology to ease or enhance the process of making music, sometimes both. In the hands of some, it can be a hindrance to the listening experience. However, Harp and his crew are among an elite corps of artists whose use of technology is woven into the overall tapestry of their music. In short, he knows what he's doing and he does it well.
Of course, the key feature here is the saxophone and what Harp does with it. Joined by a diverse cast of supporting musicians, including Norman Brown, George Duke, Larry Kimpel and Paul Jackson Jr., the frontman delivers a sound that's good for just about any mood. This album of mostly up-tempo selections features Harp doing what he does best: taking good tunes and playing to the heart of every song, "not being influenced by anything else happening in the genre."
"My whole career, I've had a good time combining contemporary R&B with improv elements, and that's the kind of energy I wanted on All for You ," he says.
That energy is evident from the first note of "Kisses Don't Lie" through to the hip "Just Like Old Times," the Babyface ballad "When Can I See You Again," and the Harp/George Duke collaboration "In the Blink of an Eye." On "Groove Control," Harp and company find themselves at their energetic peak, with Harp's high-speed riffs supplemented by Duke's keys and Howard Hewitt's voice. Arguably the best song on the albuma tall claim to make considering the excellence of most of these twelve tunes"Groove Control" is one that's apt to warrant many repeat plays.
Jazz guitar legend Earl Klugh joins Harp for the elegant, yet still groovy "I Remember When." Harp typically plays the alto horn, but he breaks out the tenor for this piece. And on the closer, "In the Blink of an Eye," he trades the tenor for soprano, offering a charming but mellow end to an exceptional piece of work.
Track Listing: Kisses Don't Lie, Back in Your Arms, Hey Yeh, Just Like Ole Times, When Can I See You Again, Time of Our Lives, Can You Hear Me, Groove Control, It's Just the Way That You Love Me, I Like the Way, I Remember When, In the Blink of an Eye
Personnel: Everette Harp, alto, tenor and soprano saxes, keyboard, EWI, drum programming, synth bass, lead and background vocals, flute; David Barry, guitar; Shaun LaBelle, electric bass, drum and keyboard programming, guitar; Tessa Harp and Lauren Evans, background vocals; John Blasucci, Rhodes, Clav and drum programming; Dwight Sills, Norman Brown and Paul Jackson Jr., guitars; Larry Kimpel and Alex Al, bass; "Lil" John Roberts and Michael White, drums; Kevin Ricard, percussion; Rex Rideout and Tommy Barbarella, drum and keyboard programming; George Duke, acoustic piano and Rhodes, synth solo on "Groove Control"; Howard Hewitt, vocal adlibs and background vocals on "Groove Control"; Earl Klugh, acoustic guitar on "I Remember When"; David Kochansky, drum and keyboard programming on "I Remember When"
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.