152

Precision High Jinks from a Veteran Jazz Quartet

SOURCE:

Sign in to view read count
During the final moments of their early set at the Blue Note on Monday night, the members of Fourplay engaged in a bit of musical horseplay.

First Bob James, the keyboardist, tossed off a pithy phrase. Nathan East, the bassist, picked it up, followed in turn by the guitarist Larry Carlton and the drummer Harvey Mason. The cycle repeated and quickened until the band was frantically circulating just one note, like a hot potato.

It was cute. But then cuteness has always been a reliable strategy for Fourplay, one of the leading brands in adult-contemporary music. Since 1990 the group has kept refining a bright and palatable sound, mixing chirpy melody with crisp rhythm, and R&B (by loose definition) with modern jazz (by an even looser one). Its consistency applies equally to the commercial side of the equation: almost all the bands 10 albums have landed on the Billboard 200, including Energy (Heads Up), the most recent, released last year.

Mondays set, which kicked off a four-night run, featured songs from that album alongside more established staples of the Fourplay catalog, and the only truly noticeable difference among them involved the relative enthusiasm of the crowd. Chant, a trademark single from the 1990s, was a suave opener, with Mr. Easts wordless singing (and, more cutely, whistling) set against a slow funk shuffle. Ultralight, a more buoyant tune from the new album, came next, and it was embraced by the audience a bit more tentatively at first.

Fourplay appears through Thursday at the Blue Note, 131 West Third Street, West Village, (212) 475-8592; bluenote.net.

Continue Reading...

Visit Website

Post a comment

Tags

View events near New York City
Jazz Near New York City
Events Guide | Venue Guide | Get App | More...

Shop Amazon

Jazz News

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.