Darrius Jamar is no stranger to the smooth jazz and R&B circles.
With his latest album, Bounce Back, Jamar steps out from the sideline to the forefront with a group of his own. And while he’s playing the lead lines with his piccolo bass on a couple of tracks, it’s clear that his role as the support and foundation of the band is still first and foremost. Jamar’s playing is reminiscent of Marcus Miller in tone, groove and tasty note choice; I found myself a number of times wanting to pause the track, grab my bass and staff paper and start transcribing the lines.
Of course, this is not just an album for people that enjoy bass playing. Jamar’s skills in keyboards and drum programming is tasty and supportive, whether it’s his original pieces or on something as iconic as “Forget Me Nots.” And, much like the aforementioned Miller, Jamar surrounds himself with immensely talented musicians that make the whole much more than just the sum of its parts. The resulting six tracks lead you in and out of some fantastic playing from everyone, letting you hear new things on every listen after the first.
If there’s a downside to this, I’d have to say that the six tracks leave me wanting, nay demanding, a full length album. Bounce Back from Darrius Jamar is a solid look into Jamar’s identity as a sideman and soloist, and makes us want to see him live, fronting his own band.