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Fourplay: Silver

Read "Silver" reviewed 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 ...

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Fourplay: Esprit De Four

Read "Fourplay: Esprit De Four" reviewed 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 ...

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Fourplay: Let's Touch the Sky

Read "Let's Touch the Sky" reviewed 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 ...

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Fourplay: Energy

Read "Energy" reviewed 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 ...

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Fourplay: Energy

Read "Energy" reviewed 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 ...

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Fourplay: Nocturnal Mission

Read "Nocturnal Mission" reviewed 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 ...

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Fourplay: Journey

Read "Journey" reviewed 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 ...

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Fourplay: Yes, Please!

Read "Yes, Please!" reviewed by Dave Hughes

There's no doubt that Fourplay is, collectively, one of the most talent-laden ensembles in contemporary jazz today. But their output to date, while always accessible to the masses, has alternated between interesting, worthwhile comtempo fare (their eponymous debut CD and their third release, Elixir ) and more watered-down, commercially-oriented “smooth jazz" ( Between the Sheets and 4 ). On their latest CD Yes, Please! , we get some of each. The disc gets off to a promising start with “Free ...

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Fourplay: Fourplay 4

Read "Fourplay 4" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Fourplay is back in business with album number four. This time former Crusader Larry Carlton joins up with Bob James, Harvey Mason and Nathan East to deliver another splendid collection of smooth jazz penned by the group members themselves.

This time Lee Ritenour has opted out but Larry Carlton is a more than capable replacement and contributes two of the compositions on '4'. His wife Michelle adds her velvet vocal touch alongside Harvey Junior/s wife Heather.

El Debarge (who can ...