Let’s Touch the Sky is Fourplay’s 12th CD, and in this player’s opinion, one of their best…always a challenge after that many releases. And I don’t mind mentioning that I am not alone in this opinion, as Let’s Touch the Sky is #1 on Billboards Contemporary Jazz Chart. These guys quite simply love to play together, and it’s evident.
The compositions stay fresh, with Nathan and Harvey keeping the groove unmatched in this bands almost self-created genre. This is not, I repeat not a smooth jazz effort (a term that definitely puts a frownie face on Nathan). The tunes are slick, the grooves are slick, and some stellar improve completes the picture. The addition of Chuck Loeb to the band, replacing guitarist Larry Carlton, adds a warm and jazzy color to Fourplays palette.
He also brings in another voice compositionally which successfully blends right into the Fourplay continuum. Some of the compositional efforts on this CD are a lesson in taking what could easily be considered a harmonically complex set of changes, and still leaves even the untrained ear at ease upon listening. As a composer myself, I promise you this is no easy task.
This is a great marriage of four equally formidable musicians listening, reacting, and putting the music first and foremost. In one of the responses in my interview with Nate, he mentions the term “the society of mediocrity”…I can promise you this band will not be invited.