FOURPLAY, ESPRIT De FOUR

Photo by Hendrick Dietrich, Montreux Festival 2012
“Esprit de Four” (Heads Up) is an album of soft licks and feathery sonic passages born from a long established creative template by the 25 year old smooth jazz collective, Fourplay, comprised of pianist Bob James, bassist Nathan East, drummer Harvey Mason and guitarist Chuck Loeb. If it doesn’t reach the heights of their 2011 release, “Let’s Touch The Sky,” (that also marked Loeb’s debut) it certainly provides fans with first-rate tunes and lush harmonic passages that cater to sophisticated pop tastes. The sleek and lightly funky “Venus” and the title track, both composed by the one-of-a-kind tunesmith Mason, weave their melodies to tell a story with gentle twists and turns that showcase the best qualities of these veteran musicians – slick interplay between James and East, with masterful runs by Loeb and precise percussive fills by Mason. Reflecting the band’s and James’ huge following in Japan, Loeb’s superior lead off tune, “December Dream,” and James’ compelling instrumental version of “Put Our Hearts Together” written in tribute to the victims of the 2011 tsunami in Japan are the type of ear-friendly tracks that cross cultures. Other tracks (“Firefly” “Sonnymoon” and the imitative “Logic Of Love”) may likely play better on stage since the quartet’s upbeat live performances are built around virtuosic turns. But with each of their recordings, Fourplay always stands above their peers and “Esprit de Four” nicely reinforces their musical brotherhood, offering state-of-the-art smooth jazz for discerning fans. (10 tracks; 55 minutes) Fourplay maintains one of the best websites in the industry: www.fourplayjazz.com

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JAZZ IN SPACE: FOURPLAY, ESPRIT De FOUR

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

FOURPLAY, ESPRIT De FOUR

Photo by Hendrick Dietrich, Montreux Festival 2012
“Esprit de Four” (Heads Up) is an album of soft licks and feathery sonic passages born from a long established creative template by the 25 year old smooth jazz collective, Fourplay, comprised of pianist Bob James, bassist Nathan East, drummer Harvey Mason and guitarist Chuck Loeb. If it doesn’t reach the heights of their 2011 release, “Let’s Touch The Sky,” (that also marked Loeb’s debut) it certainly provides fans with first-rate tunes and lush harmonic passages that cater to sophisticated pop tastes. The sleek and lightly funky “Venus” and the title track, both composed by the one-of-a-kind tunesmith Mason, weave their melodies to tell a story with gentle twists and turns that showcase the best qualities of these veteran musicians – slick interplay between James and East, with masterful runs by Loeb and precise percussive fills by Mason. Reflecting the band’s and James’ huge following in Japan, Loeb’s superior lead off tune, “December Dream,” and James’ compelling instrumental version of “Put Our Hearts Together” written in tribute to the victims of the 2011 tsunami in Japan are the type of ear-friendly tracks that cross cultures. Other tracks (“Firefly” “Sonnymoon” and the imitative “Logic Of Love”) may likely play better on stage since the quartet’s upbeat live performances are built around virtuosic turns. But with each of their recordings, Fourplay always stands above their peers and “Esprit de Four” nicely reinforces their musical brotherhood, offering state-of-the-art smooth jazz for discerning fans. (10 tracks; 55 minutes) Fourplay maintains one of the best websites in the industry: www.fourplayjazz.com

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