Jeff Kashiwa--Back In the Day

Saxman Jeff Kashiwa has been riding the high tide since his emergence on the scene some 20 years ago as the main horn man for Russ Freeman’s supergroup, The Rippingtons. He would exit the group some 10 years later to embark upon a lucrative solo career that just seems to get better with each release. His feel, energy, and intensity have always been quite something of serious note in identifying Kashiwa, and Back In the Day exclaims that loud and clear.

This production has Sax Pack mate and fellow saxophonist, Kim Waters, joining in on the writing/producing end, as well as contributing some keys work on a couple of slices of this impressive collection. The collection, by the way, includes tight funky cuts like the opening track, “When It Feels Good,” a tune getting much airplay these days--as well it should because of its brightness and very hooking hook. Others of note here would be the mid-tempo slinky funkster, “Creepin’,”  a sax-chatty and ultra smooth jam called “Meet You There” (so nicely phrased and worked that it is quickly became one of my favs here), and my prime fav here,  the melodic and hook-tight, “The Attraction”

It may not be earth-shattering news to note than an artist, after spending years as a member of a highly regarded group, spins off and becomes a sparkling entity and valued commodity all his or her own, but it’s always fulfilling and encouraging to witness such a transition. As for the album, if you seek consistency, rich tunes, and a clear mastery of the art in a nicely colorful form, Back In the Day should easily fit the bill. -- Ronald Jackson

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