338

George McRae: Being Here

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
George McRae: Being Here The Fender Rhodes holds a cult status among keyboard instruments. The manufacturer may be defunct today, but enthusiasts continue to write and perform creative music that showcases the electric piano’s funky sound. Chicago pianist George McRae harnesses the Rhodes on his latest album, Being Here, to produce a set of sharp grooves.

To feature the instrument’s sound, McRae chooses a trio format with just bass and drums backing. Moreover, he’s composed the all-originals program in a manner that allows the dynamic range of the piano to shine. “A Little Taste” and “The Funky Pigeon Stomp” reflect a groovy sensibility. The medium tempo “A Simple Wish” conveys the sweet side of things. And “Woman” aptly closes the set. Here McRae plays unaccompanied. Stripped bare of effects, the keyboard’s pristine electric hum beautifully complements the song’s haunting melody.

Besides the Rhodes, rhythm—manifested through Alan Berliant’s fretless electric bass—defines the session’s focus. On virtually every song Berliant busts out a thundering intro before McRae establishes the theme. With its ‘70s flick soundtrack riff, “Drive” epitomizes the album’s emphasis on heavy rhythm. In this one instance, melodic development takes a back seat to honking bass lines.

McRae definitely places a premium on melody, rhythm and composition, but cogent improvisation also occurs. The leader’s solo on “Running Man”—replete with short phrases, right-hand runs and , at times, a free sound—rewards concentrated attention. Berliant finds an opportunity to stretch out on “A Simple Wish” and “The Funky Pigeon Stomp” offering, respectively, charming and funky solos. Being Here succinctly covers a lot of bases while highlighting an unorthodox jazz instrument. Dig that funky Rhodes!


Track Listing: A Little Taste; Running Man; Shades of You; A Simple Wish; Snakes, Deviants & Politicians; Drive; Barcelona; The Funky Pigeon Stomp; Woman

Personnel: George McRae

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Affinityjazz | Style: Funk/Groove


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Father Figure" CD/LP/Track Review Father Figure
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 3, 2016
Read "Illustrations" CD/LP/Track Review Illustrations
by Dave Wayne
Published: September 7, 2016
Read "R Train On The D Line" CD/LP/Track Review R Train On The D Line
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 10, 2016
Read "Henry" CD/LP/Track Review Henry
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Vortex Generation Mechanisms" CD/LP/Track Review Vortex Generation Mechanisms
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 25, 2016
Read "Ignacio" CD/LP/Track Review Ignacio
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 16, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!