by Gerald Albright – reviewed by Chris Mann
Los Angeles-born Gerald
Albright began piano lessons at an early age, though he had no real
interest in the instrument. His
love of music took a fresh turn when he was given a saxophone that
belonged to his piano teacher. He
later attended Locke High School, a breeding ground for many young
West Coast musicians, where his peers included Patrice Rushen and
college where he received a B.S. Degree in Business Management,
minoring in music, Albright began working extensively in the studio
with Patrice Rushen, Anita Baker, Ray Parker, Jr., The Winans, and The
Temptations, to name just a few.
At about this time, after watching “Thunder Thumbs” Louis
Johnson in concert, he took up bass and finished a tour with Patrice
as a bassman!
also toured with Les McCann, Rodney Franklin, Jeff Lorber, Teena
Marie, Marlene Shaw, Debra and Eloise Laws, Quincy Jones, Whitney
Houston, Phil Collins and many others.
is Gerald’s ninth solo album (if you include his 1998 collaboration
with singer Will Downing) and is his first release for GRP/Verve. The impressive line-up of artists who have collaborated on
this project – including Jeff Lorber, Chuckii Booker, Sheila E, Paul
Jackson Jr. and Ricky Lawson would be cause enough to get excited. These combined talents have pushed Gerald Albright to produce
some very special performances…
lovely old-skool feel greets you on the opening song Old
It’s got a funky bass and drum track and loads of soulful
alto jammin’. This tune
is just what it says it is. It
snappy title track, with funky, funky bass, the tightest of horn stabs
and a powerhouse rhythm is completely addictive.
Never knew Mr. Albright could funk it like this!
a L’il Love is
a “quiet storm” delight. A
sexy ballad with a strong groove and superb male vocals courtesy of
Chris Walker and Terrell Carter.
This really is the standard by which “smooth jazz” vocal
performances should be measured.
don’t take your dancing shoes off yet.
On Ain’t no
Gerald’s rockin’ on bass and on the tenor sax.
This groove-laden tune was penned in collaboration with Jeff
Lorber. I’m doing some
serious head-knodding while writing this. Rewind!!
the World, from
the soundtrack of the Travolta movie “Phenomenon” was originally
– and beautifully – performed by Eric Clapton.
Check this out – it stays true to the original but has
soulful sax, heavenly backing vocals and it really swings.
Much more than the average smooth jazz cover. Much, much more.
ballad I Will Always
Love You is slow
and sexy. It has a
beautiful acoustic guitar solo and more classy backing vocals.
The flawless tenor sax is the star though.
bass licks again support that tasty tenor on The
It’s funky and very sassy.
I’d love to see a TV show cool enough to use this as a theme
is a sweet, mellow urban groove.
The male vocals, lead and backing, are up to the very highest
soprano sax on here is clean with the perfect amount of reverb. A delight.
but slap that bass again G.A! This
mid-tempo stepper Don’t
Hold Back – a
homage to James Brown – is the very essence of good-time
contemporary jazz. The
lead and backing horns are right on the money and the mid-song key
change really makes me smile. Radio
jocks, ditch your current signature tune and spin this.
thoughtful and gospel-tinged We
Fall Down closes
the set. The choir sounds
fantastic and the pleading cry of the tenor heightens the drama.
any track from this ten-song CD and you’d have enough reason to buy
it. Take all ten as a
whole and you’ve got no excuse for not buying it.
This is one of the must-haves of 2002.
cat no. 3145-89655-2 Producers
– Gerald Albright, Marvin McQuitty, Jeff Lorber, Luther Hanes, Paul
Brown, Greg Curtis