This smooth jazz veteran brings us ten new selections that I’ve enjoyed getting listening to this week. Just in time for summer, I can see this one being added to a lot of people’s favorites this year. He brings in several guest artists that keep things interesting. I love the way he mixes a lot of old school sounds with some new ways of hearing it. “The title reflects all the tunes on the project,” Albright says. “I didn’t want to hold anything back. I really wanted to push the envelope and give people a little more edge. I come from the era where we didn’t think of a formula – we went from the gut.”
The opening number has a nice swagger to it which features most of his band. “What Would James Do.” There’s a lot of good trombone here from special guest Fred Wesley, and the two of them play off each other well. One of the fun ones here has to be the remake of Michael Jackson’s “Get On The Floor” that has a very distinctive seventies feel to it. Even the bass licks have that sound that we heard back then. It makes you want to drag out your platform shoes and warm up the dance floor. His daughter, Selina, adds to the background vocals while Gerald adds some really good licks on sax. “Bobo's Groove” has a good feel to it as its uptempo shows off Albright’s skills on sax along with some nice keys from Tracy Carter. “Capetown Strut” is another feel good song here. It moves along at a good pace with a slight calypso beat which will be fun to listen to over the summer. One of my favorites has to be “I Found the Klugh” featuring the guitarist by the same name. These two veterans play so well together! They play some on their own while getting together for some of the chorus. This one you’ll want to hear several times over. Albright’s sax soars, and the classic Klugh is something you “know” right away. “Earl and I have been friends for a long time,” Albright says. “I’ve appreciated his music for a number of years, and when I wrote this tune, I heard Earl on it. He has a sound all his own.”
The pace slows a bit for “Embrace the Spirit” and “The Road To Peace” (a prayer for Haiti). They both show much of Albright’s soulful side. Roll down the windows and hit the cruise control for “Highway 70.” It’s one of those good cruising songs that you want to hear on a Sunday morning driving in the open spaces. He finishes up with the insightful “From the Soul.” It’s a nice one to end on as he gives us a little bit of time to reflect on all we’ve heard and gives us a glimpse of the heart of this big guy.
I really enjoyed this one from Gerald Albright. There is so much here to offer. His playing ability is at the forefront of so many songs here and it really gives you an appreciation of his talent. He has a sound that is definitely unique in the smooth jazz arena today.