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Release Date:
August 16, 2011

Reviewed by:
Bonnie Schendell

Jamey Tate is a drummer in high demand these days.  He has his steady gigs with pianist, David Benoit and saxophonist, Mindi Abair, and can be heard on their CDs, as well as on others.  Well, now, the much anticipated Jamey Tate solo album, RoTATEd, is out and it is one you don’t want to miss!

All but two of the eleven tracks were written by Jamey.  We have come to know his talents on stage, but now we get to experience the writing and producing talents, as well.  As anticipated, David Benoit and Mindi Abair both appear on the CD and bring with it their signature sounds. Add to that, other notables, such as David Hughes on bass, Dave Hitebrand on bass/guitars, and Katisse Buckingham on various saxes and flute.

Like his Benoit trio castmate, David Hughes’ solo efforts, this album is not about the instrument that Jamey plays.  It’s about music in general…good music that is appreciated by many.  The CD starts off with a very funky “Hers and Mine,” featuring Mindi Abair on sax and Jeff Babko on piano.  There’s a catchy melody, but it also flows into almost a jam session.  Mindi’s sax is gritty, and Jamey’s drumming keeps things on track. “Children” has Justin Ray on trumpet alongside the sax of Katisse Buckingham.  The side-by-side playing reminds me of the Rick Braun/Boney James tracks on their Shake It Up CD.  The trumpet solos are melodic, fluid, and fun!  “As I Am, For Now…” is such an introspective tune.  The old school sound of the sax, piano and subtle drumming take you back to a club of yesteryear.  Another old school, organ-tinged track is “Six Freeways.”  Again the sax and trumpet combine forces to take you on that freeway journey.

“Worm Cookie” starts out the with a drum solo, the kind that Jamey is famous for.  Then, added in to round things out are the guitar, sax, and organ.  The organ takes over in a groovy, spaced-out way, then handed over to the guitar.  You tend to get lost in this tune, which fits the title!  There is so much going on here. “Changes” is very reflective.  The piano, played by David Benoit, and bass tell the story and evokes a “seasonal” feel.  To me, those are the changes.  I see a slideshow in my mind.  David Hughes’ bass is so crisp and clear.  Back to that great trumpet/sax duet again on “Braidy,” this time provided by Phil Rodrigues and Ben Wendel. What a terrific sound, followed by the guitar solo from John Pondel.  Jamey’s roots are in big band music and this just fits the bill.  The old time jazzy feel is where you know his heart is.

Speaking of hearts, “My U-Shaped Heart,” written with Jamey’s wife, U-Jung in mind, I’m sure, has more drumming in the forefront than the other tracks.  The keys take you inside the heart and soul of this writer.  It’s peaceful and emotional at the same time.  “Tell It Like It Is,” written by Greg Gordon Smith, features Chesley Sanchez on vocals.  The vocal track is a great addition to this collection.  The words seem to speak about the changes that have occurred in the life of Jamey Tate.  Beautifully sung.  “Traffic” could be part two of “Six Freeways!”  Closing out the CD is “Temper Mental.”  The bass lines draw you in and the flute is the main attraction, but the drum keeps it all crazy! 

Jamey Tate continues to amaze me with his talents  I have been watching him on stage for years now, but it is a real treat to hear his own music.  Check it out…it’s the kind of creative music we’ve been wanting to hear.  You won’t be disappointed.