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 Range," "Double Trouble," and "Robo Bop" - the breezy melodies are supported with some interesting harmonies and creative background fills (Bob James trademarks) and some good group interplay. Larry Carlton's pensive, singing guitar caresses the lines of the ballad "Once Upon a Love." Carlton displays his bluesier side on "Blues Force," though James' solo seems stilted and awkward.
The disc's radio offerings, however, reach new lows in sterile banality. Female background vocalists seductively coo "Save Some Love for Me (Tonight)" repeatedly over a plodding drum loop. The saccharine seduction resumes on "A Little Foreplay."
Throughout this disc, mellow is the word. The tempos range from slow to medium, and the dynamics rarely reach above mezzoforte. While the musicianship is impeccable and there are interesting touches here and there, it's a very relaxed, placid outing. (Warner Bros. 47694)
Track Listing: Free Range; Double Trouble; Once Upon a Love; Robo Bop; Blues Force; Save Some Love for Me; Fortress; Go With Your Heart; Poco A Poco; A Little Foreplay; Lucky. (63:17)
Personnel: Bob James, keyboards; Larry Carlton, guitar; Nathan East, bass; Harvey Mason, drums; Sherree, vocal on "A Little Foreplay"
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!