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Joe Plass – After Hours

May 29, 2012

While After Hours may be Joe Plass’ debut solo release, this quality bassist is no newbie to the studio or the touring scene.  Case in point, from 1984 – 1986, he toured and recorded with an artist you may have heard of by the name of Kenny G.  In fact, he is featured on the very CD that served as my introduction to “smooth jazz,” Kenny G’s Duotones release.  So, whether he knows it or not, he’s played a pretty significant role in my musical life.

Here with After Hours, be prepared for some serious funk as only real jazz/funk bassists can lay it down. The kind of stuff that makes your body move against your will.  

With Jeff Lorber and Gerald Albright tossing in their guest chops to help this project shine, Plass tilts the odds in his favor in a big way. Adding in a very competent sax player in Andy Warr, John Raymond and Marlon McClain on guitars, some sparkling lead and backing vocals (Paulette McWilliams, Olivia Stover, Keeley Whitney), and a host of other quality contributors certainly provided more bite and sizzle.

Tracks of note include the title and lead track, a cool cover of Kenny G’s “Tribeca,” the ultra-funky “Fresh Garbage” (sounds like a track title George Clinton’s Funkadelic would have used, doesn’t it?),  the alluring, funky up-tempo “Lies” (totally enhanced by a jewel of a voice, Paulette McWilliams, and the tell-tale master saxman Gerald Albright), and the Latin-tinged “Skyline” (the very lilting and effective flute is courtesy of Steve Snyder).

Then, there’s the sassy “Bumpin’” (just the title gives you an indication of what type of track you’ll find here – big kudos on a magnificent piano solo by Roger Sause here, as well), and the driving and, again, funky, “Cup of Joe” with co-writer Jeff Lorber laying it down on the Fender Rhodes. Actually, simply put, the entire CD is a one huge funky experience to behold.  You want to be part of this.

Most jazz aficionados recall the late Joe Pass who was a wonderful and inspiring jazz guitarist.  This is Joe Plass, a distinctly different musician altogether and no less inspiring in any way, shape, or form. Pass, on guitar, was cool and deliberate. Plass, on bass, is cool –and hot—and deliberately funky. The latter should have made this debut long before now. Still, the wait for many will prove to have been so worth it. It was for me.  – Ronald Jackson

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