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 namewith seductive rhythms to get you in the moodon 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 talents of superstars Larry Carlton on guitar, Bob James on piano, Nathan East on bass and Harvey Mason on drums.
Journey includes nine original songs and one cover, Sting's "Fields of Gold," which opens the CD and substitutes Carlton's acoustic guitar for Sting's vocals. Carlton gets a workout over ayesseductive backdrop. Journey is Fourplay's "jazziest" CD to date, and this is reflected in songs such as "147 4th St." and "Departure," both of which showcase James' jazz piano playing and the improvisational nature of the recording. It's all done in Fourplay style, however, so longtime fans will no doubt embrace the jazzy turn of events.
There are some classic Fourplay moments: "Rozil" is a quiet number with vocalese; "Cool Train" throws out a shuffle beat and a bass lead by East; and "From Day One" has a surprising twist about three-quarters of the way through; just when you think it's over, the band comes back for about two more minutes in a new musical direction. And East lends his vocal talents to "Play Around It" and the title track, "Journey," which also features Bikki Johnson on background vocals and shaker.
Not as consistently good as other Fourplay efforts, but this one is a Journey worth taking.
Track Listing: Fields of Gold; Play Around It; From Day One; Journey; Rozil; Cool Train; Avalabop; The Firehouse Chill; Departure; 147 4th St.
Personnel: Bob James, piano; Larry Carlton, guitar; Nathan East, bass and vocals; Harvey Mason, drums; Bikki Johnson, background vocals and shaker; Cody "Peyote" Cassiero, DJ;
I love jazz because it expresses things so deep that I can't transform in words.
I met John Pizzarelli.
The best show I ever attended was MASP in São Paulo Brazil.
The first jazz record I bought was a Baby Dodds CD.
My heroes on drums: Papa Jo Jones, Sid Catlett, Gene Krupa, Baby Dodds, Zutty Singleton, Ray Bauduc, Vernell Fournier,
Shelly Manne, Jimmy Cobb, Joe Morello, Daniel Humair, Kenny Clarke, Sonny Carr, Buddy Rich, Sam Woodyard, Cozy Cole,
Sonny Greer, Neil Peart, Carl Palmer, Tony Sbarbaro, Vic Berton, Edison Machado, Milton Banana, Rubens Barsotti.
My heroes in jazz: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Chet Baker, Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal, Coleman Hawkins, Teddy Wilson,
Barney Kessel, Lester Young, Johnny Hodges, Jelly Roll Morton.