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Under the Lake – Jazz, Groove & Attitude

Jan. 25, 2018

With the colorful combination of David Evans’ tenor sax, John Monk’s trombone, and Jayson Tipp’s hearty keyboards leading the way (along with some seriously competent guitar work from Evan Mustard, the get atcha thick bass lines from Kenny Franklin, and Brian Foxworth’s hefty, steady drums), Under the Lake parades out its fourth release entitled Jazz, Groove & Attitude.

Marrying jazz and funk in that dancing, jubilant manner often associated with the hard-driving, bottom-heavy persona of that musical hybrid, this album guides you through a solidly-structured house of groove with a balanced approach of melody, musicianship, and catchy hooks.

At its base are the class and sophistication of traditional jazz, the sassiness of that grit we know as funk, and the tender seasoning of good ol’ soul music – all cast in a hue that is undeniably hot and smooth all at once.

With that Crusaders-like attitude, the group struts through this set of thick grooves, confidently knowing that you’ll be caught up in it all in no time.

There are tracks here to suit whatever jazzy mood you might be in. There’s the rousing funk of “November 30” with its mesmerizing Hammond presence; the penetrating soul/R&B flavor of the oh-so-silky “George is His Name” (inspired by the late, great George Duke); the kickstarting lead track “Breaking Through” with its very chatty horn lines; a slight nod to the good feel of that “cool cat” jazz on “Good Things” with that funky edge and equally vocal brass lines — along with a stroll with that fat Kenny Franklin bass; the sexy, R&B-flavored “LJT;” more mid-tempo charged funk with “Full of Life;” and other goodies.

The album has charm, charisma, dirty and thick funk, and horns and keys to really settle into with great satisfaction. A golden moment in this modern era of jazz. Here are guys who haven’t forgotten the ingredients of a good jazz/funk “stew” and don’t try to disguise it as anything but. Simply put: I really enjoyed the mastery here, the attractiveness and allure of the moods and sound, and the spice it carries. Grab this one, and just soak in it. — Ronald Jackson