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by Jeff Winbush
Any band in any genre of music, be it rock, country, classical or jazz can't make it two and a half decades based solely on pure dumb luck. Fourplay defied the critics who dismissed them as pop schlock when they debuted in 1991 and shook off the haters who never thought they would still be here 25 years later. The secret for the quartet's staying power is right there in the name: Fourplay. Four talented, versatile and experienced master musicians ...read more
by Jeff Winbush
FourplayEsprit De FourHeads Up International2012Bands don't last over two decades with minimal turnover in personnel and continued success if they're composed of egotists, prima donnas, drama queens or people that just don't play nice together. Fourplay has endured and thrived because it is an egalitarian coalition of seasoned professionals who set aside private agendas to serve the group dynamic.When a new guitarist joins Fourplay it typically takes their sophomore recording ...read more
by Jeff Winbush
For Fourplay, it's all a numbers game. 2011 marks the band's 20th anniversary, Let's Touch the Sky is their 12th album, and new guy," Chuck Loeb is both Fourplay's third personnel change and third guitarist replacing Larry Carlton, who stepped in for Lee Ritenour in 1998.Personnel changes in long-established bands happen when a disgruntled member bolts over the dreaded creative differences" or out of necessity, as when Carlton decided to return to his solo career. When it was ...read more
by Douglas Payne
Fourplay is as much a conundrum as a contrivance. Their punning name suggests sexy jazz--and both levels are sometimes achieved--but if this collective's aim of producing what is, after all, supposed to be pretty music" meets its goal, it may sell millions but it rarely rises above agreeable (for those paying attention) or merely listenable (for those doing other things).
Energy, the foursome's eleventh release and seventh with Larry Carlton in place of original guitarist Lee Ritenour, continues ...read more
by Woodrow Wilkins
Energy: a word that means power or force. It's appropriate that Energy is also the title of Fourplay's debut with Heads Up.Fourplay, a double entendre, is the quartet of Bob James, Nathan East, Harvey Mason and Larry Carlton. Each, an individual band leader or session sideman in his own right, the four spend part of their time as a supergroup. Collectively, they've appeared on numerous recordings and gained widespread appeal. Among their associations are Tom Scott & The ...read more
by Ken Dryden
Since the quartet Fourplay released its first CD in 1991, it has become known as a solid, if rather uninspiring, smooth jazz band, playing mostly R&B-flavored pop while incorporating minimal jazz content.This session, recorded for a brand new label, may surprise their longtime fans, as they've gotten a little more adventurous with their choice of material, though guest vocalist Clay Aiken isn't that far from their mold. Keyboardist Bob James composed three of the tracks, with two each ...read more
by Brian Soergel
Fourplay has always been misunderstood by many jazz critics, who misinterpret the band's easygoing groove as background music. But while Fourplay has always remained true to its name--with seductive rhythms to get you in the mood--on its new CD, its seventh in thirteen years, more than ever the band combines those seductive sounds with some real playing that fans can feast on. It's no surprise that Fourplay puts the talents of its leaders out front, since the band boasts the ...read more