the gods of smooth jazz, the group Fourplay would certainly be a
perfect candidate for Olympus. The contemporary jazz quartet comprises
keyboardist Bob James, drummer Harvey Mason, bassist/vocalist Nathan
East and guitarist Larry Carlton, who replaced Lee Ritenour. Their
self-titled debut album was released in 1991, followed by a chain of
successful albums, continued with their new album Energy, which
will be released on September 23, 2008.
“I look forward to an adventurous, classy and soul-filled record that
showcases our talents individually and collectively,” comments Nathan
East. “Until the last note is played, it’s hard to predict the exact
direction. That’s what we love about jazz – the improvisation that
happens in the moment.”
Fortune Teller features Larry Carlton on guitar involved in an
interplay with Bob James on keys. Elegance and ease are the
significant and distinguishing marks of this sultry track.
Don't await on the
The Whistler a whistle or flute. Bob James generates this sound
on his Yamaha equipment. He is the wizard of the keys and music is his
magic. The melodies are not complex but gain their attractiveness by
the right notes at the right places.
penned the next title Ultralight. It's a typical Larry Carlton song
with superb chords in the style one can hear on his album Gift
and on other tunes like Sleepwalk and Strikes Twice.
Larry plays his legendary Gibson MR.335 LC. For details about his gear
visit his website.
narrates the story of Nathan East's grandparents, who traveled to
South Africa two generations ago to do missionary work. “After several
weeks at sea,” East explains, “their ship finally landed on the
beautiful shores of Cape Town. Their calling took them to the village
of Middledrift, South Africa, where they gave birth to our parents,
continued their vision as missionaries, and laid the foundation for
truth and reconciliation.” Nathan East performs as lead singer
supported by a choir of the children Elijah, Sara and Noah East.
The Yes Club
showcases Bob James on keys. His overdubbing technique is so sublime,
you won't even remark it. Superb how Nathan's bass bounces along the
melody line and Harvey's work on drums, cymbals and cowbell is off the
There is much
excitement and agitation around Esperanza Spalding. After her entrance
to Heads Up International and her debut on this label
Esperanza (2008) she appeared on several productions, for
example Stanley Clarke's
Toys Of Men and on Prelude For Lovers. “Heads Up
President Dave Love suggested Esperanza, and the rest, as they say, is
history. Talk about energy, she’s got it! her fresh, intimate style
was a perfect match for this song. She was a dream to work with in the
studio, full of ideas and confidence. We’re really happy to have her
as our special guest,” comments Bob James. And indeed her innocent
freshness and vocal youth communicates to the listener.
Look Both Ways is a genius amalgamation of contemporary jazz
and bebop. “While we were recording this song,” says East, “Bob
unexpectedly broke into this blazing piano solo and Harvey jumped all
over it – swinging and bopping as only he can. It was very inspiring
and energetic, a moment I’ll never forget. We listened to the
playback, and the magic that we heard helped us make the decision
about using that particular take for the record. Those moments are
like lightning, and they don’t usually strike twice.”
Harvey Mason is an avid fan of Carlos Jobim's music. A primary force
behind the creation of the Bossa Nova style, Jobim is acknowledged as
one of the most influential popular composers of the 20th century.
Harvey certainly composed Argentina in the style of Carlos
Jobim. Starting with an orchestral arrangement the song flips between
the relaxed Bossa Nova and the orchestral style.
their Rock side on Comfort Zone with Larry's bluesy guitar,
Harvey metronomic drums and Bob's piano jam.
everyone by bringing in a sketch based on a chord progression from a
Bach piano piece I had been playing at home,’ says Bob James. “It
occurred to me that it might provide the framework for a Fourplay
song. We all have classical backgrounds to some degree, so I thought
it would be fun to try something to bring out that aspect of our
performing.” The great German composer Johann Sebastian Bach inspired
the group for this final track in a Baroque form. The vocal
interpretation is a popular jazzy approach to Bach's classical music.
Energy is an album
full of new inspirations and surprises. Tasteful and elegant in the
interpretation the group opens on every album new doors but never
changes their significant sound. This is their intention: “Our
constant aim is to explore and push the boundaries while still
satisfying our longtime fans, who have traveled this journey with us
for nearly two decades," explains Harvey Mason. There is enough energy
in this band for a strong continuation.