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Four80East: Nocturnal

AAJ Staff By

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Rather addictive, this. Nocturnal hits so many pleasure points that the listener feels as if mind and body have been opened up. If that sounds psychedelic, so be it: The range of ideas brought to the creative table here starts with Funk and Smooth Jazz, and extends to the trippier complexities of Dub, Minimalist Trance, and Progressive Rock. Like the best Funk, it's luminously to-the-point, nailing all kinds of rhythmic nuances with precise economy. Like Smooth, it has an attractive surface sheen, and makes inspired use of keyboard instruments.

As in the other musics mentioned, strong moods and colors are evoked. Sounds are allowed to resonate, leaving vapor trails that open up all kinds of new spaces; rhythms are allowed to flex, and breathe. "Wake and Bake" creates an almost palpable atmosphere through muted trumpet, echoing flute, and soulful electric piano, while "Wait It Out" uses low-toned sounds with the sensitivity of a Sun Ra, its melody recalling the classic Dan and Dale instrumental, "Sleepwalk" — apropos, given its dreamlike groove. "Viaduct" is so smooth, you may feel as if you're riding a chocolate cupcake; a minute and a half in, and the frosting turns into a magic carpet, Jon Stewart's gutty, smoky tenor work your guide for the ride.

For all its occasional abstraction, it's also endlessly funky, working the body as much as it does the brain. Sonically, Nocturnal is a real treat, with creative use of the soundstage, and fine attention to such details as dynamics and tone. Whether your idea of Direction in Groove is Digable Planets, Weather Report, or Fred Wesley and His Horny Horns, Nocturnal will take you to a whole 'nother level.


Track Listing: Shakedown/Viaduct/Bumper To Bumper/Drive Time/Sweet Tooth/Wake And Bake/On The Strip/Wait It Out/First Time/Hazy Lazy.

| Record Label: Higher Octave Music | Style: Contemporary/Smooth


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Take Five With...
CD/LP/Track Review
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Spyro Gyra Spyro Gyra
band/orchestra
Wayman Tisdale Wayman Tisdale
bass, electric
Kirk Whalum Kirk Whalum
saxophone
Jeff Lorber Jeff Lorber
keyboard
Everette Harp Everette Harp
saxophone
Dave Koz Dave Koz
saxophone
Rick Braun Rick Braun
trumpet
Nick Colionne Nick Colionne
guitar
Russ Freeman Russ Freeman
piano
Ken Navarro Ken Navarro
guitar

Four80East Events

Date Event Time
Apr9Sun Four80east
Berks Jazz Fest
Reading, PA
11:15 am
$49

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