The first time the members of Times 4 got together to play, says keyboardist Greg Sankovich, “We just hit the zone and ran flying from the get-go.”
Fast-forwarding seven years, Sankovich, soprano and tenor saxophonist Lincoln Adler, bassist Kevin Lofton, and drummer Maurice Miles continue reigniting those spontaneous jazz-meets-funk sparks every time they perform. The distinctive Times 4 sound, which, in the words of eJazzNews reviewer Glenn Astarita, “skirts that fuzzy space between radio-friendly contempo jazz and ballsy, in-the-pocket groove-laden motifs,” has made the quartet a favorite at clubs and festivals throughout its home base in the San Francisco Bay Area and points beyond.
The backbeat-anchored edge that has marked Times 4’s music since its inception remains evident on Eclipse, the group’s third CD, yet the disc represents a step up in the group’s musical evolution with its more carefully crafted original tunes and the clarity of the recorded sound. Many of the compositional collaborations on the two earlier CDs - 2004’s Seductivity and 2007’s Relations - were outgrowths of open-ended jams created on the bandstand. For Eclipse, the four musicians took their time coming up disc’s five collective compositions: the sultry “Crossroads,” the swing-overlaid “Did I Say that Out Loud?”, the funky, feel-good “FSJ,” the bass-and-drums- driven “Sine Language,” and the title track, which drummer Miles describes as being like “an emotional journey.” The haunting ballad “What They Don’t Tell You” was penned by Adler alone.