Dec. 7, 2016
Again with the “Time” theme, keyboardist Al DeGregoris puts on another display of how to mix sophisticated classy and intricate jazz fusion with that always-appealing funk spice with his latest release Time and a Half.
Featuring household names like Nils, Jeff Lorber, Eric Marienthal, Andy Snitzer, and Steve Cole, this project is totally coated with the elixir for the jazz soul. Full of body, character, and swagger, it’s a true clinic on how to do this groove right.
Leading off with a spirited and innovative cover of the great Sly & The Family Stone classic “Everyday People,” the album constantly picks up steam as it rolls through to its finale.
Other tracks of note include the bouncy “All Over the Place,” which clearly has Lorber’s fingerprints all over it; the dance-ready and hook-rich “No Holds Barred,” arranged by and featuring guitarist Nils, “Mac’s Groove” featuring the solid sax work of Cole; the mega-funky and melodic title track (my personal favorite) featuring lots of that feel-good piano/keys work for which DeGregoris has become so noted, as well as a solidly tight bass line provided by Darryl Williams (love the timing nuances here); the cool, mid-tempo “It’s Time” (of course, it is); another high-kickin’ Lorber-style fusion track “Abacaba;” and on and on as there are just so many cleverly composed tracks here.
If you’re a DeGregoris fan, you know what to expect, and he again delivers with fervor. Surrounding himself with the quality musicianship supplied by some of the who’s who in the biz doesn’t hurt a bit, either. With equal amounts of fusion and funk, this polished jazz project and artist are just what you need on any day, whether cruising along a coastline, walking the beach, or settling back in your music cave at home. Welcome grooves from an artist who wears them well. – Ronald Jackson